Yes. It's an ant's eye view. And you might think that with the corona confinement golf isn't going to open as an "essential" service. But it is. Yup. The news reported that in Saskatchewan, a province next to Alberta, social distancing rules have been put in place so the game can go on. For starters only one person to a cart. That's all I heard but it's a start to making the summer 'normal' or at least fun for die hard golfers.
That begs the question if other less involved and expensive activities are going to be allowed. Like places for kids to play, or swim, or hang out. I'm always amused at what activities get the attention and the go ahead. For the sake of the economy, I'll be happy that golf courses are opening.
"FORE" is the cry of a player who has just launched the ball and wants to make sure anyone in the path of it has heads up to watch for it. In my book, Done-With-Dementia: Keeping Your Parents Together I use the acronym F.O.R.E to list the most important things to remember in caring for them. I know if you've read this blog this far, you may be disappointed that I've changed the subject but hang with me a minute.
Life is a lot like golf. My husband and I often watch the weekend golf tournaments and I must say I've noticed some comparisons to life. Firstly, no matter how prepared, equipped, experienced, or famous a player is, much can happen unexpectedly to affect the game. Like caring for your parents and doing what you can with dementia, all our preparations helped and gave us more confidence as we went into it, but nothing prepared us for what would happen along the way that we had little control of. It isn't the long shots to get to the hole, it's those short shots called "putting" that puts the player ahead or behind. So here's me yelling "FORE" before you launch the senior care-giving ball.
F. is for FAMILIAR. Having the most familiar things around your parent is critical if or when their memory begins to go. Many things in life we've done for so long, we can almost do them without any thought, let alone memory, as long as nothing has moved. This goes for friends, family, and professional help too.
I went out of my way to make sure my parents went to the same doctors, eye & ear care professionals, and even the hairdressers they were used to. It was obvious when they saw these people, the familiarity was there. Even little things like the way they eat, dress, and programs they watch keep their mood good when everything is as it has always been.
O stands for ORGANIZE and this was especially true when I had to set up shifts for other caregivers coming and going. When routines and appointments were logged for each caregiver to follow there was harmony and flow to each day. Everything had a place, and was in it's place, and labelled if necessary. This included sanitary and cleaning items and special instructions on specific food items or medications. Being organized also helped to see when supplies needed to be stocked up making fewer trips to the store.
R stands for ROUTINE and that was also part of the organizing and using the routines Mom and Dad were most familiar with. For example, they always had breakfast first and Dad had to be dressed before he would leave the bedroom. Mom had breakfast in her housecoat and we could dress her after while Dad watched the news. Once settled in their chairs in the living room, they would have a daily Bible reading and a prayer. Then they were set for the day with either appointments, or mid morning coffee in or out, depending on the weather. Naps were always right after lunch until "tea time" mid afternoon and supper was early enough coinciding with a shift change. Eight o'clock 'snack' was finished in time for evening Bible reading and prayer before getting ready for bed. Lights out was nine o'clock.
Some of the routine was weekly for things like laundry, housekeeping, and garbage removal. In the summer it included mowing the lawn, but that didn't affect them. Going to church on Sunday was part of the weekly routine, as was taking Dad to garage sales on Saturdays. I budgeted for lunch out at least once on the weekend and it included whoever was caregiving. For me monthly routines were paying bills, paying non-volunteer help, and a grocery run.
E is last but not least and should really be at the top. It stands for ENDURING POWER OF ATTORNEY
and assigning the legal decision making to someone while the parents could still make that call. This is vital for families to do ahead of when it becomes necessary. The legal things put in place should also include their wills and personal directives that outline life support under specific conditions.
Like I said, this game is like golf and you want to be prepared and equipped as much as possible and ready to do your best for the long shots and the puts!
Linda McKendry, renaissance girl accused of doing too many things. Loves to educate, motivate, inspire, and empower (entertain).