Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Caregiving Resolutions

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease nearly eight years ago and has lived with us for seven of those years.  I’m always amused when people say, “I couldn’t do what you have done.”  The truth is that apart from divine help there’s no way I could do what I’ve done either.     My theory is that since the only materials the Lord has to work with are weak and imperfect human beings that He’s sort of used to filling in the gaps.  Let’s just say that with Linda wearing the title of “caregiver,” the Almighty has had His work cut out for Him.

These past eight years I’ve learned the truth of this statement: when God has a plan, we can trust that it is a good plan; and that He will help it to be implemented.  It was His plan for me to become my mother’s primary caregiver, and I haven’t done the best I could, I’ve done the best that God can do through me.  And so things have gone pretty well.

This is not to say that I’m not adept at blocking the Lord’s good intentions, and so I’ve written a few New Year’s caregiving resolutions: 

1.  I will not be jealous of my mother’s affection for the cat even though I’m pretty sure she likes the cat best. 

2.  When I can’t think of a word and my mother instantly supplies it for me, I will not lapse to morbid fears regarding my own cognitive functioning. 

3.  I will spend more time being grateful that Mom is still with us and less time worrying about when she will leave this world for the next.  God is in control. 

4.  I will stop worrying about whether or not I will get Alzheimer’s.  God really is in control. 

5.  I will exercise and watch my diet so that I can lessen my risk of getting Alzheimer’s, but I won’t obsess about it because God really and truly is in control. 

6.   I will think of new ways to make sure that Sandy (our respite caregiver) knows how much we appreciate her. 

7.   I will stop explaining to store clerks that the Depends I’m buying are not for me. 

8.  I will spend more time just sitting with my mother and enjoying her conversation, which is still witty and spiced with nuggets of wisdom. 

9.  I will waste less time feeling sorrow over what has been lost and more time being grateful for what we still have. 

10.  I will thank God daily for my co-caregiver extraordinaire, my husband, even though I’m pretty sure Mom likes him best. 


  1. Wonderful list! Alzheimer's challenges make us grow, don't they!

    On Fridays I am praying for you. For my one resolution I divided the week into days I pray for different concerns.


  2. I know Mom loves the cat best, because she tells him that over and over, in multiple languages. "You're the only family I have."

  3. You are a wise caregiver. I love your list! I don't buy Depends, but I just bet, like you, I would make sure the check-out person knew they weren't for me!

    Happy 2012!

  4. Oh, Mariarose--I am laughing out loud in commiseration and understanding. Bless your heart, and thank you for commenting.

    At least my mom only knows one language, LOL!!!!

  5. Linda, as always, I love this post!! Your list is terrific!! I was just talking to some of mom's old friends about the fact that she often says Bella, our dog, is all she has! Lol. But I have also told myself that I am going to stop worrying about how long I have left with mom and just try to enjoy the time fully. And also not worrying about the scary thought of am I going to end up with this disease, I struggle to remember some things. I also have to say that I get a tad embarrassed about carrying the Depends around wondering if people are thinking they are for me, lol. You have really been an encouragement! Thanks for this post! Now I want to write my New Year's post, but it's a little late, so I'll just try to wait. :) Happy New Year, praying for you!

  6. Stacey, you have an open, sweet heart that blesses me. I think you must have the gift of humility? Not everyone is able to be so encouraging and kind without it somehow making them feel diminished. Here's an example of what I mean: I had a lovely Christmas tree this year, was so happy with how it happened to turn out and pleased with its beauty--but two different friends who were in my home didn't say a word, and I heard one mutter that she sure wished she could get her tree the way she wanted it...I know from the purity and kindness of the comments you've posted at my blog that there's none of that kind of angst in you. I'm trying to give encouragement here and am probably not doing a great job; but what I want you to know is that you are a wonderful blessing. My Christmas tree hasn't been taken down yet--if you lived closer I'd invite you over for a cup of spiced tea or cafe mocha and I just know you would exclaim with joy over my tree...and that I would gain a wonderful new friend. God bless you, your mom, and Bella this new year!

  7. Oh Linda, you are just so sweet! I know we would have a wonderful time of fellowship together!! And I'm sure I would love your tree!! I haven't taken mine down yet either. :) Mom used to always take it down before the new year, but now I keep it up a little later and she doesn't seem to mind. :) Thank you for being a blessing and encouragement to me!

  8. You are so precious! I love, love, love your goals AND your transparency!

    God bless you Sis!

  9. Carol, thank you for the prayers. MUCH appreciated, and here's a prayer for you right now: Lord please richly bless Carol in her life and in her caregiving in 2012!

  10. I love your list. You humor still shines through regarding of the trials you are faced with every day. That's a true gift. Hugs