Monday, May 6, 2013

The Flexibility of Others

Socializing when you are the care giver for an individual with dementia is a challenge because of the limitations that arise from the person's care and need for structure.  For example, if you wanted to go out to dinner with Mom and Lyn, you'd have to be willing to go early enough in the afternoon that Lyn's Sundowning symptoms were not in play.  You'd also have to be willing to leave the restaurant as soon as the bill was paid.  There is no capacity for lingering over coffee and desserts even if you wanted to stay past the entree.  Socializing when dementia is involved takes the flexibility of others to make successful.

Fortunately, there are times when that flexibility comes from unexpected times or at unexpected sources. It is appreciated more than is often realized.  My best friend from my school days, my soul sister recently reached out to Mom to offer her a night out or in, her choice.  She's done this before but the timing of this is unexpected but directly in response to Lyn's increased agitation of the past few weeks.  It is unexpected because she's in the midst of finishing up her Ph.D. and planning her wedding.

The unexpected source of flexibility came from a friend of Mom's who was breezing through town over the weekend.  They've not seen each other since high school.  Here is an individual who knows little about the care my sister has required for the past 4 decades and yet, she was willing to come to their home to dine with them tonight.  It may not seem like a big concession to come to someone's house specifically to keep a schedule as undisturbed as possible instead of meeting them out on the town; but it is.

To Mom, these moments are treasured gifts.

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