Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SHOP (01/03/19)
TITLE: Where and When, that is the Question
By Bonnie Kronberger
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I had always thought God would make it clear to me when the time came to put Lee into a memory care facility; a sickness or injury for Lee or myself. No vacillating decision, no guilty conscience, no need to rationalize to anyone why it became necessary.
But now I’m not sure. How wise is it to wait for a crisis to occur? How difficult would it be for Lee to suddenly be sick, confused, and helpless in the care of strangers in an unfamiliar place? Would it be better for him to transition when he can still walk, feed himself, and interact with staff and residents?
Family, friends, and nurses offered advice. Shop around for Memory Care facilities. Search online for reviews, facility licensing and regulatory systems. Drop in unannounced, have questions prepared, and pay attention to your five senses.
I followed their suggestions and began shopping for memory care facilities. My favorite place was bright, uncluttered, homey, and small. I was impressed by it until I learned there was one caregiver for seven residents. I assist Lee with almost everything. Could this place do that?
I have taken Lee to another place for daycare and have actually seen it in action. There are sufficient workers in this larger facility but I am not confident in their training for best practices in Alzheimer’s care. I’ve seen the manager be impatient with the staff and they’ve had a constant turnover in management for many years.
I journaled my prayer during this time of shopping and questioning:
Heavenly Father, caring for Lee is a huge job. I am willing to give my life for him, but I don’t want to sacrifice more than you require. I also don’t want to take on a burden that you are not asking me to carry. Help me resist temptation to put him in memory care before Your time.
You have miraculously blessed me with patience, compassion, and love for Lee in his dementia. Then You made my life so much easier once medication slowed his delusions. But now I am less patient and more easily frustrated. Life is difficult as his paranoia and dependence on me increases.
What does our future look like? I trust You and Your plan but I am weary in the waiting. Oh Lord, I want to be in your will but life seems so stagnant. I pray you give me wisdom and discernment as I look at memory care options. Not my will but Yours. . .
I think Lee lives in the moment, literally. He doesn’t know if he’s eaten or had company, but he enjoys eating and company. One thing is constant; he wants me nearby.
I tried to imagine Lee at my facility of choice. The place and care impressed me, but I realized the one on one care he received from me was just not available from busy caregivers. I imagined him trying to sit and rise without assistance. I pictured him wandering from room to room, trying to find home. How would they have time to shower him, dress him, help him not miss the toilet while peeing? Visualizing him being cared for by someone other than myself brought no peace.
God has giving me clarity. I WANT to keep caring for my husband! I do a fine job of it and Lee is content. I will continue to use daycare and home caregivers to allow me the opportunity for “fun”. I will also be more proactive in engaging Lee in activities with me. This should help us both feel more “alive”.
I’m glad I didn’t go shopping alone. I invited my Heavenly Father to lead the way. Now is not the time for a purchase. But the trips were not wasted. I received clarity about where Lee needs to be for now. I have peace for this season and knowledge for the next.
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