Monday, May 23, 2011

Lovely day in Canyon Lake

6:28 p.m. Today's project was to attend an Alzheimers/dementia support group at Canyon Lake Community Church. While we caregivers meet, Steve joins others afflicted with this disease for activities and a movie.

I enjoy visiting this group of believers because my dear friend Barbara and her mother are mainstays, having lost husband and father Bob Pentz just last February. Dot is actually chairperson for the upcoming year, and did a fine job keeping the agenda moving. I loved the devotional offered by one member as well as her review of the book, The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimers Care. I was pleased to be able to inform the group of the Riverside County Office of Aging's new 5-week caregiver support series and provision of no-cost care for your loved one at home. In fact, Ill be attending that meeting tomorrow.

As we took turns around the tables, testimony after testimony was offered by spouses and middle-aged children of God's divine appointments and miracle after miracle to bolster our resolve to carry on in this most trying and strenuous role. I shared about Steve's improvement in speech after the kids and I laid hands on him at Easter, and how I am continuing to pray for healing of his other faculties. "Hebrews 6:1!" I declared, "Let us go on to perfection."

One fascinating discussion, which has experts split, was "how much of the truth do you tell to the Alzheimer'spatient?" The whole truth and nothing but the truth, leaving them angry, agitated, dejected and despairing when they'll forget within the minute that they were angry or what the matter was that tore up the household?

For example, one camp maintains that if they are "seeing " a person long dead from their past in a chair in the room, just go with it, nod your head and change the subject because the argument that would ensue will be bitter, destructive and have major ramifications. Others say to take the ill loved one on. I am very truthful with Steve, but he isn't hallucinating at this point. I know God will give me the wisdom should he ever get to that state.

Two women are now going to former "couples' " events alone. One was asked to compete in the finals of a sport, but her affected husband wasn't. Thankfully, their grown son wanted to spend time with his dad, so it worked out. Another told her husband, truthfully, that she was going to lunch at church. Her husband is just too ill to take out now. She didn't mention that it was the couples' lunch group that they'd attended for years together. When a caregiver called the event by name after his wife left --not her position to decide--he was furious, devastated and accusatory. The entire routine of loving calm was shattered, and he took a long time to settle back down.

What would you do? What will I do when Steve can no longer attend Home Fellowship?

After informative and personal sharing, we gave prayer requests. (My request, for provision for upcoming wedding expenses was answered late this afternoon by a check that arrived). The leaders closed prayer and we we ended the meeting, one I'd describe as a koinonia, actually, a gathering centered in Christ.

I gathered a cheery Steve from the church activities center, and we continued our fine day with a sit-down lunch with Barb and her mom in Dot's senior center restaurant. Then he assisted me in setting up a small facial party in Dot's apartment home.

Laughter, love, and shared belief in Christ make for a lovely day!

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