Monthly Archives: December 2012

Caregiving is an inadequate term. Maybe it should be changed to Lovegiving?

SERENADE 2 SENIORS – ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

In my opinion, caregiving is a most inadequate term which is used loosely. I think that it should really be called love-giving, because that’s what it was. In order to live with a husband suffering from any kind of Dementia, Alzheimer’s in our case, I was willing to give unconditional love to my husband and I think it worked for us. I didn’t stop loving him simply because he could not always remember things the way he used to do. I did not spend less time with him after he became ill. On the contrary, I tried to go out with him more in order for him to have more memories to draw from in the future. We could not be described as an elderly couple, which goes to show that this illness can start at any age although it occurs more often in older people. My husband passed away when he was 76.

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One psychiatric hospital in particular …

imagesCAEXCDV0This particular  hospital remains in my memory because of its garden. It was well kept and must have been planned by somebody who not only loved nature, but understood the need for the peace and tranquility that patients haunted by voices and other terrors need. Creepers covered fences and walls, and flowers bloomed in profusion amongst bushes and rocks.

I remember how touched I’d been when my son plucked a deep, pink rose from a bush in the garden and handed it to me. That simple gesture is a memory that I wished I could bottle for future use.

I remember one tree in particular. A part of its trunk had a hollowed out portion that was being used as a trash can for papers and candy wrappers but one had to peer inside to see this so it did  not disturb anyone. We never sat in the garden for long as David felt the need to walk and walk and walk. He missed his dog, a Belgian Shepherd who was his constant and faithful walking companion at home.

Why do some people look about furtively before slipping into a psychiatrist’s office ?

imagesCAC2S7PKRandom thoughts about visiting psychiatrists

Why do many people look around furtively before slipping unobtrusively into a psychiatrist’s clinic, reminding me of a burglar, but, when they visit any other specialist I doubt whether they do that? No, they walk in openly instead of checking whether there is anyone around who might notice what kind of doctor they are visiting. By doing this, they are simply adding to the stigma associated with mental illness.

I have to admit that at first I was guilty of doing the same thing. WHY? Because I wasn’t able to cope with the fact that I was the mother of a son who was behaving strangely, who was having unusual thoughts and who was telling us that people were after him. And yes, it took me a long time before I realized that if I told people about David, came straight out with the problem, they would no longer talk behind our backs and might even be more understanding and empathetic.

Happy birthday to a faithful, 42-year-old Austin Mini Minor … let’s stop judging outer appearances

1966_Austin_Mini_Cooper_S_Rally_Car_For_Sale_resizeSERENADE 2 SENIORS

My children feel that I should change my car because it is five-years-old but when I told them the following story, they let up for a while.

I grew up in Bloemfontein, South Africa and I remember when my mother purchased her Austin Mini-Minor. It was on December 28, 1970. She drove it for 13 years and on October 18 1983, she sold it to my cousin who lived in Johannesburg. When she handed him the car keys, she put a sheaf of papers in his hand which contained the original receipt of purchase, together with all the paperwork she had accumulated pertaining to the car.

My cousin called me from Johannesburg the other day to tell me that today, ‘ the mini’ as we referred to it, was celebrating her 42nd birthday. Isn’t that amazing? Let’s raise our glasses and toast this incredible car.
I wish my mother were here to share this toast with us.

A lack of understanding surrounding a suicide.

There is a great deal of stigma and a lack of understanding surrounding mental illness and suicide. Someone was actually heard to say the following while visiting a family whose child had taken his own life.

“If he wanted to die, why are you so upset?” The family also heard; “Time will heal,” and “You have other children so ..

Another person mentioned that committing suicide was an act of cowardice.  How could anyone even think something like that? I don’t agree that it is an act of cowardice. I think that it takes a great deal of courage. I imagine my son standing somewhere up high, making that terribly difficult, heartbreaking, yet brave decision to end his suffering. Maybe he also felt that he was relieving us of an emotional burden; maybe he could not longer tolerate the voices in his head.

I was quite sure that no fear, pain nor sorrow could touch me after that most traumatic and painful experience, but that was simply not true. Life is made up of all kinds of tragedies. What I do know is that we will remember and love our son David forever.

A grandfather drinking and driving?

SERENADE 2 SENIORS

Most people have been lucky to have avoided brushes with the law on their way home from social functions over the years.  Several nights ago, my friend, a grandfather of 82, went out for a few drinks with friends and although he’d had a few too many beers, he proceeded to order and then drank a margarita which was not a good idea. Aware that he was probably over the legal limit for alcohol consumption, he took a taxi home.

Sure enough, he encountered a police roadblock but because he was in a taxi, they waved him through. He arrived home safely without incident, much to his surprise. The next day he told me that he’d never driven a taxi before and was not even sure where he’d got it.

Texting codes for seniors. Children have them, so why not for us?

phoneSERENADE 2 SENIORS

When a grandchild used the code LOL at the end of a message to me, I thought it meant Lots of Love, but I was told that the meaning is Laugh out Loud.

Here are some for seniors to use, IF they text at all, that is.

  • ATD       at the doctors.
  • BFF       best friend’s funeral.
  • BTW      bring the wheelchair.
  • BYOT    bring your teeth.
  • CBM      covered by Medicare.
  • GGPBL  gotta go. Pacemaker battery low.
  • IMHO     is my hearing aid on?

Because I am a senior, I feel free to poke fun at seniors in general. Have a good day.