Diane Elinor Hoover’s Top 10 Words for Alzheimers Caregivers

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Warrior Woman SilhouetteDiane Elinor Hoover calls herself and other Alzheimers / dementia caregivers “care warriors.”

She and her family and friends cared for Diane’s mother Bessie (Little Mama) in Bessie’s own home until she died in 2013 at age 92. (More about Diane’s story here: Memory People Page newsletter pdf (Vol 4, Issue 2) 2-28-2014.)

Diane came away from the experience with 10 care warrior words she shares from time to time with others.

I first saw them on a support group page.

Here are the 10 care warrior words:

#1. Guilt

Care Warriors, ban this word from your life. If you are on the front lines of this war whether your loved one is home cared or in a care facility, you are a care warrior. Decisions made from a heart full of love are good decisions. Only you know what is best for your loved one, your family and for YOU! Guilt has absolutely no place in a care warrior’s journey.

#2. UTI

Almost a certainty. Pedialyte: little mama had one minor UTI in 6 years; we gave it to her 1/2 to 1/2 juice 3x a day. It balances electrolytes and helps with overall hydration.

#3. Placement

Trust your instincts: care warriors know when it is time – sometimes we know it is time and because of #1 we hesitate. Don’t hesitate.

#4. Fiblet

I outright lied to Little Mama. I even wrote fake prescriptions to make her accept care sitters and to take showers. I made up a fake form from her favorite doctor and it said:

“To Bessie’s children: Bessie must not be left alone at any time. She must also take a shower at least 3x each week. If you are unable to make these things happen, I will have to step in and find a care facility that can take better care of her.”

That worked during the feisty stages.

#5. Loud

When seeking BEST care for a loved one, be as loud as it takes for as long as it takes. Too often there you will find a scary lack of knowledge among medical professionals about dementia diseases.

#6. Kindness

Be especially kind to YOU! We already know how kind you are to loved ones.

#7. Legalities

Be prepared. It is hard, but being prepared and having a plan is required to provide best decisions for care. The day will come when you know you must think of final arrangements and honoring your loved ones wishes.

#8. Help

If it is available, ask. If it is not available, do not take any guff off of anyone not actively engaged in the war (this is part of being kind to yourself). #1 is important here, too.

#9. Hospice

Do not wait – trust your instincts. If your loved ones are eligible for Medicare, please ask primary care physician to order a hospice review/or call them yourself. Earth angels. If accepted, no more ER trips – medical staff comes to you and Medicare pays! And they provide personal hygiene 3x a week!!!

#10. Admiration

I admire you all so much. There is nothing easy about this journey and I know you all are here because of love. Blessings on your heads.

Thanks Diane, for your words of wisdom and encouragement.

 

Note: some of the information in this applies to US residents only.

 

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4 Comments

    • Thanks Martha and I’m also loving your book: Inside the Dementia Epidemic: A Daughter’s Memoir

      It’s one of best books on dementia and caregiving challenges I’ve read so far (and I’ve read quite a few!).

      And no, visitors, Martha didn’t pay me to say that. Buy the book here: http://amzn.to/O8L15j It really is EXCELLENT! #Alzheimers #goodreads #resources #ALZ

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