Sunday, January 22, 2012

Book Review: The Best Friends--Part Three

See Parts One and Two Below
The authors of this book offer suggestions to the caregiver: 
  • Maintain a sense of humor. This is why I put the last post on humor in.
  • Seek out someone to confide in. I want to scream sometimes. I wanted to cry yesterday. A woman at church whose mother went through Alzheimer's is now my confidant. I will talk to her today if she is at church. The fact that she is covenanted to be there for me makes me feel my church is working for me now.
  • Set realistic expectations. "How much money can I spend on caring for my loved one without jeopardizing my family's financial well-being?" (p. 198) Our finances are pretty precarious. I balance entertaining my husband which costs money but keeps a normal life going vs. paying off credit cards so I can stay home and take care of him when there is no other option. I know that day is approaching and may be here sooner than I think.
  • Develop strategies for handling unhelpful advice. This hurts so much. People just mean well, but sometimes they just don't know my tears and fear. The authors suggest saying things like Thanks for your concern. I think of Christ's attitude: Father forgive them, and pour my heart out in prayer. In fact, I wish many people were praying for us. People are busy. I realize I need to pray for them and have started doing that. My little world is not all that breaks my Savior's heart.
  • Keep up contact with the outside world. Caregivers "should try to make at least one call each week to a friend that they have been too busy to see or talk to. Also, many caregivers find new friends through support groups." (p. 198) This blog is contact with the outside world, and I do not know who reads it. I have family and friends who say they don't read blogs, yet do they realize that calling on the phone in the middle of the night just won't work? That so many of us caregivers just have to blog. Do they understand?
  • Modify or change the living environment. Our home works for us, but the authors ask if it is hard to maintain. Yes it is. 
  • Listen to one's body. I am dieting now and have been to the gym. So far my slow weight loss has resulted in more energy.  
  • Be good to oneself. They say give yourself presents. I spent under $50 this month on clothes on sale, and it did lift my spirits.
  • Plan ahead. I do not have a workable plan should I predecease my husband. However, Sally and I think we might be able to provide respite time for each other while both of us are alive.
  • Forgive others and oneself. The authors write, "Alzheimer's disease finds people at their best and at their worst." Among the caregiving community I read about selfish relatives, and why doesn's so and so call or help, etc. Yesterday we went to Sally's birthday party. I admire her for living every day to its fullest. I admire that not only was her own son and family there, but also three stepchildren (children of her Alzheimer's husband by a previous wife) were at her party. I wish I had that kind of local family support. I try to not go there in my thoughts, because I can only control myself. This is why I rush to the LORD in prayer for others and their needs:   LORD forgive me for allowing self-pity at times and for expecting family and friends to behave so and so.  Thanks for the times they do come through for my husband and myself. Thanks for cousins Linda and Ron who from the other end of the country actually read my blog.
  • Keep a diary or notes of caregiving experiences. So much happened yesterday. I did not slept well last night.DH was angry with me, and then forgot he was angry with me. Repeatedly his short-term memory crept in. I kept a lid on it all and wanted to scream and cry by the end of the day. One should award me an academy award for being so pleasant yesterday. I wrote more here, but somehow the posting of my difficult day got erased. I do indeed need to take heed to being "my own best friend" along with my husband's. And there is a FRIEND who sticks closer than a brother.

In the movie "War Horse" which we saw last night, a main character walks toward the injured horse on the battle field while quoting Psalm 23: Ye, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. . . . Today is the Sabbath. I so need a day of rest and worship.


  1. Thank you for the book review. I enjoy your honesty and yet how you are always turning to God, like David did so many times. "Only in God is my soul at rest. In Him is my salvation." I completely understand your feelings, and concerns. We have had such HUGE changes in our lives over the last 6 years, heartbreaking, and joyful too. We had to sell our home (where we lived from our wedding night for 34 years, so I could manage a smaller place.) We have simplified every area of our lives. And there have been many blessings along the way. I wish I could sit down with you over a coffee and talk for hours, because I think we have so much in common and could encourage each other. I'm so happy the Lord provided sweet fellowship with your friend at church who understands and will pray for you. As we are in a constant state of flux and reevaluating to make new decisions and prepare for the future, God WILL give the wisdom we need when we ask Him for it. James 1

  2. Good post, Carol! People have been seeking me out for help with caregiving issues, finding classes and support groups. And conversely, I have a couple who pray for us every weekday at 5:30 a.m., and our friends faithfully pray and help when asked.

    My children are as helpful as they can be depending on distance. They mean well, but are just building their young married lives, and the youngest is finishing school. The past financial sacrifice of purchasing long-term care insurance is something I recommend continually, because many caregivers have careers or run businesses and cannot stay home at all.
    And find some hilarity every day!

    Blessings, Dana

  3. Good book review and post!! My care giving job has changed dramatically, and now I'm wondering how I did what I did for so long......I was exhausted and now I'm almost sleeping all night.... and I say "thank you God".....