Tuesday, June 10, 2008

caregiving: drawing on walls


In spite of evolution it all still comes down to drawing on walls. An oversized monthly wall calendar (20" X 30") hanging in our kitchen has been a key to juggling spouse caregiving (Multiple Sclerosis) and basically single parenting through the last 18 and a half years.


Since the advent of the care facility era frankly it has become MORE critical.


Caregiving is about time. When home caregiving surrounds you it is time itself. In the 24/7 care facility stage it is soooo easy to let other responsibilities or even a breath of fresh air distract you.


“Self help” and “self organization” gurus might call this an organizational tool. For me, every time I walk into or out of the kitchen it prods, pushes, pesters, and haunts me to “look” at the time I have committed to outings or visits with Patti.


My goal has always been to have Patti home or take her for an outing and then later personally prepare and tuck her into bed at her care facility at least 4.5 evenings per week. There are weeks this can be as challenging is not more so than homecare used to be. These are the weeks my wall calendar seems to bark at me like some drill sergeant over my morning cup of coffee.


Bottom line is that it is all about making sure the care facility era does not become a time of drift, but rather the age of team work. You must stay in the fight.


Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer 

musings:  www.lairofcachalot.blogspot.com

website: www.CaregivinglyYours.com

videos: http://www.youtube.com/daddyleer


(also available in Blogger edition, Caregiver Blog: "Caregivingly Yours")


  1. The humble calender :) I know what you mean about 'shouts at you'........and we always listen :) I like your coloured pencils, it makes the calender look a lot friendlier, brighter. Rache

  2. Just repeat after me: Calendars are our friends.


  3. I admire your devotion to Patti, Patrick, and your commitment to spend a big chunk of time with her among all the other things you need to get done; truly an admirable characteristic that you do so lovingly and with humor and of course so very much organizationally with such a colorful wall calendar! At least it will help you not to forget anything :) (my struggles as I age, my memory is slipping downhill fast..........)


  4. .....it seems the calendar is an orgre that wants it's share of attention!

    With so many appointments  and visits it seems to be alive and gnawing at my brain!
    We now have fewer aides, nurses, and certifiers, and that is a blessing!

  5. I have not had anyone in my family placed in a care facility at this point. The grandparents might have been, but I lived so far away, I really had no idea what that the experience was like for them. And they mostly died in their 60's (not encouraging, genetically speaking). Over thirty years ago, I did get in two visits of my paternal grandmother. She lived in CT, I lived in GA. She was blind, in a wheelchair. She wanted me to shave her legs for her, which I did, then told me to bring some disposable shavers for her to keep. For the next visit, I did bring what she had asked for, but the nurses found out and took them away from her. Maybe they were afraid she'd cut herself? I don't know how many family members visited  her, or how often. I think what you are doing is the way caregiving should be... the calendar scheduling is a must, I can see. But I'd change it a bit... I think it would be ideal if you had other names to pencil in for her visits... friends, neighbors, relatives. People who could visit her on a regular basis. I can see where it would be next to impossible for anyone but you to take her out of the facility, being as how you have the adaptive and modified vehicle. I think you have reset the standard for caregiving, making it a collaboration between the caregiving facility and the caregiver, to do what's best for the patient/client. I pray you stay healthy and well, Patrick! bea


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