Tag Archive | memory care

Sharing Mindful Conversations

sharingmindfulconversations

There’s a peaceful way of being when we are in the moment of mindful conversations with loved ones ~ especially those who have memory issues such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.  Too often, we can be caught up in the web of needing/wanting them to be able to revert back to the loved ones we once knew and the loved ones we miss from before the illness arrived.  It is hard for both parties to find a peaceful way to communicate when there’s been such a change in our loved ones.  If there are unresolved issues, it’s even harder for those who are not afflicted by memory issues.

There is a plus though that when we take the time to understand, we can heal from the bereft feelings that may lay dormant in our attempts to converse at the previous levels that we did with our loved ones.  As I understand and have experienced, being that I have loved ones who are in a memory care facility, many times our loved ones are living in the present moment and when we can get onto that path of presence with them, we can have the loveliest conversations when we leave our sadness and baggage at the door before entering the conversation.

Does this make sense to you?

For me, when I just allow the communication to flow between us.  I enjoy our conversations even when they are repetitive.  Just to chat daily is sometimes a struggle, but I try to have a few giggles prepared to keep them aware of my life and to inquire about theirs and to joke about silly things that we remember together ~ like songs, family phrases, good memories.  Keeping the conversation light, allows them to participate and to feel good and thus, I feel good.  Sure, there are times when they are feeling poorly and get angry or frustrated and then I simply allow them to speak, to repeat and to process if they are able to do that along the way.  Sometimes a complete change in conversational direction is necessary and that’s when it seems one of my cats do something silly and I can easily interrupt and change the channel to a lighter note and we can resume with them feeling good, feeling connected and I feel the connection as well.

It saddens me though I try to keep my heartlight shining as much as possible.  I awoke this morning crying in a dream.  All I remember from it is the repetitive words, “I love you,” from my loved one.  Even though at the end of every conversation, we repeat, “I love you” to each other at least 5 times, I relish every single “I love you,” and I have for awhile now.  Because I know that there are those who wish they could hear those 3 precious words again from their loved ones and someday I may be in that same position.

There are those of us who find it hard to take time to call our loved ones with memory problems.  It isn’t easy to carve out time from our busy lives.  But if you want to stay in touch, a visit, a card, a small token of yourself, a photo and even a phone call helps to bridge the gap and I believe it helps our loved ones to stay in touch with us and not feel so lonely.  Because, let’s face it, when your mind is not working like you remember it to work and you’re frustrated with memory issues or your mind simply goes on the fritz at times, it’s hard to bear.  From what I’ve seen, once you cross that bridge from knowing that your mind is fighting a losing battle with the disease, to accepting the new place your mind is in, I think it’s easier for the patient.  But it still brings out the sadness is us all.

Don’t shy away from mindful, loving conversations.  Enjoy the loving connections while you can for one day, you may wake up dreaming, “I love you” and not be able to hear that precious phrase, except in your memories.  Those that have memory issues need to feel loved, treasured and cherished, just like everyone else on the planet.  It is our job to remind them…I love you.

Shine On!

xo

A Truly Happy Person

detour

A truly happy person is one

who can enjoy the scenery

on a detour.

I visit with my two loved ones who have Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia every month.  We take a ride in the car each time and enjoy the scenery.  Within minutes of our getting into the car and buckling them up into seat belts, we begin our drive to wherever we are going and the same conversation always ensues.  One talks about the trees, the other one notices the clouds.  What makes such an impression on me is that the incessant repetitive conversations about these two beauties of nature never fails and is always welcomed by all in the car.  It is simply being present in that moment to remark on the beauty in nature.  Granted, the conversations about the trees and clouds continues in a loop, over and over while we are riding in the car, but I choose to see it as a blessing.

For being in the present moment and observing the beauty which surrounds us in a happy way is the key to life.  Being with my loved ones who live in a memory care facility gives me the powerful lesson of presence.  Sure, I can get bogged down by the repetitiveness of the conversation, feel badly that they only have clouds and trees to notice and feel sad for how their minds have changed.  And I do.  I won’t lie, because as a daughter/niece/carer it can break my heart to be so far away and to see the changes as their minds slowly succumb to the disease.  But there’s a lesson here that we can all share…there’s a Present of Presence ~ a peaceful, loving, nurturing moment that we can gratefully choose every single moment of our lives.

Because being happy in the moment is a gift that we don’t always give ourselves or others and I think it’s about time we did.  So on this Sunday, take a few minutes to look at the clouds/sky and the trees.  Breathe in the beautiful air that Mother Nature swirls around us.  Notice the gratitude of being alive.  Lay down your worries and fears for a few moments and shine your heartlight for all to see.

This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24.

Shine On!

xo