Thursday, February 23, 2012

Saga Twenty-Two

Sally and I have been to two Alzheimer workshops in February--both held at her church. Our husbands hang out at our home while we attend such events. We made mistakes for the first workshop as I reported in the February 13th blog below; my husband didn't have paper on his clipboard reminding him of where we were and so both Sally and I got phone calls during the workshop from our husbands. My husband didn't understand about lunch. I had instructed him to cook pizza for the husbands, but that lunch never happened.

The morning of Valentine's Day the husbands again hung out at our home. Sally and I attended a lady's group that morning where I spoke briefly (one of my raps).  One of Sally's friends was there and reported some adorable gossip about Jake and DH. It seems a husband without Alzheimer's had sat between both of our husbands at the picnic for Sally's January birthday party. Both of our husbands went on and on about what great wives we are but both husbands couldn't remember our names! We chuckled at this story we received quite by accident on Valentine's Day. Then we went to our monthly Alzheimer's support group in Plant City. Jake knows it is at First Baptist, but my husband knows it is an Alzheimer's meeting. In the evening we celebrated Valentine's Day together by going out to the Olive Garden. We wives are in the habit now of ordering for our husbands and the men seem so happy to be friends.

So when the second workshop happened on Tuesday, both husbands had lunches we made for them by us wives. The day's happenings were on my husband's clipboard. It worked out so much better. Jake didn't know what the event was, but DH did know it was an Alzheimer's event.

At the workshop this week we received a fresh approach. The church's parish nurse contacted Annetta Delinger ( and Karen Boerger (, speakers and Caregivers Advocates from Ohio, and authors of Joyspiration for Caregivers, Blessings and Prayers for Those with Cancer, Blessings and Prayers for Caregivers, several related products. I won Blessings and Prayers for Caregivers as pictured here. Sally bought all the books with several for gifts for relatives with cancer. I went to the first web site above (Karen's) and subscribed to their Nuggets of Hope newsletter. They can be reached at Caring Hearts Ministry, 800 Rosedale Road, Irwin, Ohio 43029.

The first session led by Karen started with emotions of a caregiver such as anger, guilt, and loneliness. Karen has been a caregiver six times over and knew what she was talking about. At our round table we were able to discuss some of these emotions as well as peace and joy.

Annette followed up with clever packages of ways to help the caregiver.
  • Gifts of Encouragement. Leave messages on their answering machine or cell phone. Have matching prayer mugs.
  • Gifts to De-stress. CD, tea, bubble wrap to pop, a journal to give the caregiver, stress ball, clay, lavender, and something for exercise. Respite time.
  • Gifts of Food. I didn't write these down but they included nuts, frozen grapes, and dark chocolate I believe.
  • Gifts of Words. How are you really? How can I support you the best? Do you want company today?
  • Gifts of Organization. Create a coping journal that includes questions for the doctor, medications. Have a "love shower" for a caregiver--maybe change air filters and fire alarm batteries for them, or work in their yard. 
  • Gifts for Long Distance Caregiving.  Have frozen dinners delivered. Cards that say things like I will be handling all your problems. Signed, God.
This workshop involved the participants in very creative ways. The two speakers have other workshops they put on. Ours was only three hours which included lunch by the church.

About Sally and Jake's church. Both times volunteers provided delicious lunches for the participants. We also attend a senior's group there about once a month. We are starting to get acquainted.

I must mention that our own church is very supportive of my husband and myself. This week we went to dinner with an elder and his wife. DH was so funny in our conversation and this couple didn't seem to mind it when he kept repeating himself.

These are good days to enjoy and the clipboard is working well for when I am gone from the house. How fortunate we are!

Thank you, LORD, for Sally and Jake and for others who share our life.


  1. To have good friends, a supportive church and prayers are such a blessing!
    Keeping you in my prayers.

  2. Understanding and support from family and friends can make all the differents in difficult times. I loved how you and Sally appreciated the wrap from your husbands even though they forgot your names. That must sometimes make you sad but a good humour makes life bearable.

  3. How fortunate indeed!

    What a HUGE blessing a supportive church family can be. That in itself is a fortune :)