Thursday, July 4, 2013

Caregivers Get Smarter

I had our monthly 'Caregiver Meeting' this morning with three out of the four men that care for my husband. They rotate who comes to the meetings since one has to stay with Bob.

We discussed Bob's needs, the cottage needs, and any thing else needing to be addressed.  Gusti asked, "Can we get a locking cabinet for Bob's clean clothes?" For years my sweet husband has  been obsessed with organizing, sorting, and going through things. Sometimes we can use that to our advantage as I wrote about in 'Tool Fool' (

Now he rips open the package of fresh-from-the-laundry clothes, depositing them in any number of places including the shower, the dirty clothes bin, out in the garden or even in the garbage.  Not only does this cabinet need to lock but it needs to be heavy enough that he can't move it.

We found this lesson out the hard way.  We had to strap the TV down to the table so he wouldn't cart it away and still to this day he continues to try to lift it. At least it keeps him entertained.....for awhile.

It's common in Bali to have a stove top but no oven. We have a light weight aluminum box oven that mostly sits under the counter, since the boys aren't bakers. They started using it instead to hide Daisy's treats from our ever hungry man-child. They added his snacks and apples or he'd eat them all in short order, not remembering he'd just had one.  I suggested they just turn it around so the door was against the wall but Ketut said, "Oh no, Susan, he sits on the floor and pulls the oven out."  And if there aren't any treats in the house he goes for the dog food on the floor.  If there are extra apples he eats them all - he's been known to eat five apples in a day.

What's so perplexing to me is that Bob has no short term memory but he remembers where treats are tucked away. This of course pushes the boys to find new hiding spots in a simple uncluttered cottage, not an easy feat.  I wonder if they can recycle old secret places after awhile or if he'll continue to remember them and if so why can't he remember anything else?

On Saturdays the boys pick up Bob's food for the weekend - we cook all his food at my house.  This is problematic because he often gets up in the middle of the night and raids the refrigerator. If the next day's food is in there, it's fair game. You can't say "No" to Bob, unless you want an argument you won't win. 

We decided at the meeting that I'd give them a small travel ice chest to put the extra food in along with some 'blue ice' to keep it cold. This can be stored out of sight high on a shelf for the night, and covered with a cloth if necessary, so Bob won't see it.

It seems in our attempts to stay one step ahead in Alz World, we become smarter, quicker, more flexible, trying to keep up with our large two year old. I don't say that in a demeaning way. My good friend, Margie, frequently babysits her two year old grandson and we chuckle about how similar Luca and Bob are. Except when it comes to bubbles - Luca loves them. Bob says, "Oh, that's for kids."

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