Wall calendars are the caregiver equivalent of ancient cave drawings. A 20” wide by 30” high monthly calendar has been part of our kitchen forever.
Through home caregiving and basically single parenting it was my alter ego. Graphically displayed in color, it emphasized what had to be done and what had just happened.
Now in the care facility era we have grown to two wall calendars. One hangs in Patti’s room, the other still anchors our kitchen. For example, the circles pictured below from July 2007 count and record 'family outings' with Patti.
Patti’s room calendar, on the other hand, records visitors, outings, important dates, etc. Patti can somewhat see and understand it, but more importantly shifts of staff, and visitors can glance at it and get a quick grasp of what has been going on outside of her ‘medical’ news. It provides ‘reality’ to help offset Patti’s MS related memory loss and cognitive challenges.
At home, with the hustle and bustle of daily life it’s easy to fall into a trap of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Walking by the calendar multiple times a day I am constantly reminded, “Are we keeping Patti involved with family and home?”
When someone is challenged and dependent on you, a calendar or schedule is a ‘door’ for them. If the door opens to nothing and looking back shows nothing, couldn’t that seem ominous?
As for me, well … there is the fun of drawing and writing with colored markers … kind of a Peter Pan kind of bonus. <grin>
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer