Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/891479-Visits-Matter
by Thomas
Rated: E · Article · Inspirational · #891479
This is a piece I am submitting to the newsletter at work. Critique me please.
Do you have a family member or loved one who resides at BUSINESS? Do you ever find yourself thinking that since your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia, that they will not be able to appreciate whether you stopped by to visit or not? Maybe you find yourself feeling helpless next to these formidable diseases and wonder what difference a short visit can make. Maybe you already make regular visits to your loved one, but at times feel discouraged over whether you are making a positive impact on their life. Let me say right now that I have never seen a resident unhappy to have a visitor. Can they recall what you talked about two hours later? Maybe not. But it does brighten their day.

In the following paragraphs, I am going to list some experiences I have witnessed as a caregiver that demonstrate my point. These people are real, but all the names and some of their circumstances have been changed to insure privacy and dignity to the residents and families concerned.

Josie is a lady who loves to help. She loves to clean up the kitchen after dinner. She loves to fold the laundry. She also has Alzheimer’s. At times, she gets frustrated with those around her and at times, she sits on one of the chairs in the commons area, her eyes red and puffy, and cries because she misses her family. Josie is one of the lucky residents, however, because she normally receives between three and five visits from her family every week. When I ask her the name of her children, she sometimes cannot tell me, but she never suffers one of her crying episodes on a day one of them comes to visit.

Joyce is one of the sweetest people on the planet. She never complains if dinner is late. She never puts up a fuss when it is time for her to receive her medications. She never gets upset over what channel is showing on the TV. And sadly, she rarely receives visits from family. She doesn’t remember the names of her grandchildren, but on the rare days when her family does show up to take her out or to just visit with her, she is like the prettiest girl in school on prom night, simply breathtaking. Her smile will brighten the darkest of days. Joyce is not one to be a bother to others, but the few visits she receives make her happier than her family probably realize.

Obert is a man who hasn’t had an easy life. Some of the decisions he made back before he had dementia were not in his or his family’s best interest. Some of his family are content knowing as little about him as possible. The truth is that he can be difficult to deal with at times. He has had to learn the hard way that not everyone who has claimed to be on his side, actually was, and so he is not cooperative when he doesn’t understand perfectly why someone wants him to do one thing or another. This can turn a simple task that would normally take no more than a minute or two for one of us, into a half hour endeavor. The situation is complicated by his dementia, which leaves him confused about tasks that most of us take for granted. Would Obert be easier to deal with if his family took a more active role in his life? The question may never be answered decidedly, but by treating him with dignity and taking the time to do things at the speed that he is comfortable with, in just a few months, I have gained a friend who always shakes my hand warmly and calls me his little buddy.

Frieda doesn’t understand why she can’t live with her husband anymore. He visits her every day, but as soon as he leaves, she comes up to me and tells me that she is sad and that she misses him. She needs reminding daily that she has plenty to be happy about. I remind her that her husband loves her since he visits her everyday. I remind her of her favorite song, Jesus Loves Me, and I remind her of all the hugs and affection she receives from the various caregivers at BUSINESS. Before too long, she is feeling better. While it is true that she does require these reminders daily, I can only imagine how difficult it would be to help her feel better if she wasn’t receiving the regular visits from her husband and other family members.

Alzheimer’s and dementia can make grown ups into big children. Imagine for a moment that your loved one at BUSINESS is a kid at summer camp, and think back to when you were a child away at camp for the summer. Do you remember visiting day – the day when parents would come and have lunch or dinner with their children? It could be awkward for sure, but didn’t you feel a little bit sorry for the kids whose parents never came for a visit? Some of the other kids probably even teased those poor kids; or maybe you were even one of those kids who always spent lunchtime alone. Like those kids at summer camp, your loved ones will benefit from your visits. If it is true that your loved ones are slowly reverting back to when they were children, wouldn’t it make sense that they will also need the extra love and support that children require? In the same way it can be difficult to find time to dedicate to your real children, you are not always going to be able to spend as much time as you would like to with your loved ones with Alzheimer’s and dementia, but rest assured, your visits do make a difference.
© Copyright 2004 Thomas (improg at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/891479-Visits-Matter