Thursday, May 16, 2013

Interview With Our Amazing Volunteer Caregiver

Kenny Sexton lives with his extended family on the property in back of us. That property used to be owned by the first owner of our home, and there are barns and two dwellings there. At one point this property used to have a rodeo as pictured above.  

Various people have rented back there and now Kenny and his extended family live in dwellings (not shown) back there. Even though they are right in back, to get there I would have to jump the fence or drive back there on a dirt road a house away from us. No longer. As I wrote earlier, Wayne has installed a single gate to join the properties.

Kenny Sexton is a younger man on disability who now, despite his disabilities, volunteers to check on my husband while I work, using that gate. I finally had a chance to interview him on his great service to us.

Carol: How and why did you come to take care of my husband?

Kenny: We were talking with each other over the fence and I told you what I had done in the past and volunteered to help you if you needed help.

Carol: I remember thinking that this summer I could introduce you and my husband and see how it went. Never did I realize how soon I would need you. Things went faster than expected and while my husband was in the hospital, Wayne installed the gate making it easier for you to come to the French doors at the back of our property.

Kenny: I realized you needed help right now because he was more confused and you couldn't leave him alone. His doctor wanted to put him in a nursing home and I didn't feel this was the correct decision.

Carol: I didn't know what we were going to do, but was so glad that you were stepping in to volunteer. Tell our readers how you gained the insight into helping Alzheimer's care receivers.

Kenny: There was a time in my life when I ended up in a nursing home and I observed Alzheimer's patients because I lived with them.

Carol: You enable me to leave the home and not worry about my husband because you are checking in on him. You will see that he gets his morning pills and then text me that he has had them.That one Saturday night when hubby would not get off the John, I called you and you came right over and advised me what to do, and helped me get him in the car so I could take him to emergency again. Why do you so willingly give of yourself to be there for us now? 

Kenny: You know, Carol, I feel that God moved us here for a reason and part of the reason is that I get up in the morning so I can serve you all. If I wouldn't be active, I wouldn't get better myself and not be listening to what God has said to me. 

Carol: This is such an incredible blessing to me right now. THANK YOU, LORD! How have you approached working with my husband? Give us an example.

Kenny: I try to be respectful in working with your husband. I don't want him to feel that I am looking down on him. I try to give him his space. One day when I was fixing his lunch, a BBQ sandwich that I warm up and give him along with his yogurt and coconut oil fudge, he said to me, "I could get used to this!" I knew then that he appreciated my checking in on him. 

Carol: Before you came, I would come home and his cold sandwich, yogurt and coconut oil fudge would still be in the refrigerator and he had not had his morning pills. We both have trouble getting him to take his morning pills. How do you do it? 

Kenny: I tell him, If you take your pills, I will go ahead and leave. Then he would take them right away and I would leave out of the back of the house chuckling to myself.

Carol: We learn how to deal with them by trial and error. When I couldn't get him to shave one evening, in disgust I left the house and texted you. Do you remember that evening?

Kenny: I called you and told you that sometimes we have to get out of the situation.

Carol: I was so relieved that you said that. This was still when he was recovering from that nasty UTI infection and I feared we had a worsening of the Alzheimer’s.

Kenny: When do you think you might make the decision to put him in a nursing home.

Carol: I am not ready for that and actually have a fantasy that he can live here all his days. However, as I interviewed Dolores, Latane and Dana on this blog, these fine ladies taught me that it may happen someday. I have seen others in my Alzheimer's Association Support group who were able to care for their care receiver with the help of Hospice. The LORD will be there for me. I am assured of that and try to live each day knowing that the future is in His capable hands. He gives me encouragement along the way, such as a happenstance Christian caregiver right in my backyard!

Kenny: How has having a husband with Alzheimer's enriched your life, or has it been a detriment?

Carol: First, Kenny, even though I am semi-retired and in my 60s it has forced me to grow up in so many ways. Financially, I have to plan. Time management. Simplifying our home which I blog about with The House That Cleans Itself. Taking care of my own health by diet and exercise. I have a thyroid scan next month and now am off of thyroid medicine until that test. I monitor my blood pressure. When hubby was going through his UTI my blood pressure shot up to 144/95. Early this morning it was a wonderful 101/62. Also I value my faith with meditation on God's Word, prayer and disciplined intercession for others.

Kenny: I see that you genuinely care about your husband and struggle with the upkeep of the house but do well. I also see how you bridge the gap with youth with your tales of your rapping when you substitute teach. I think this blog you have been writing may help others as well.

Carol: Thanks so much for letting us interview each other on my notebook computer around the dining room table with hubby watching old movies in the same room. I look forward to the next interview of you on your health issues.

I am now off to substitute teach this afternoon. When I come home, Kenny will have popped over to check on hubby. Thank you LORD, and thank you Kenny!


  1. God bless Kenny! The world needs more Kenny's! Take care and God bless. Karen

  2. Kenny is a remarkable man! Our God is so good to provide ALL our needs. What a wonderful example of loving one another.

  3. Thanks Karen and Ruby. Kenny came over and helped this morning when hubby fell. In ER now where hubby is being checked out. Nothing broken and no stroke.