Last night we went to a little Christmas get together with our friends from church. These folks are a bunch of wild and friendly characters with caring hearts. Many of them make up the JV’s (the Jerry volunteers). The message was sent out to these folks, asking for prayer, so many of them know I’m in the throws of a need for change. (I sound like Obama). Anyway, with a tinge of sadness, I’m sure they question why I’m “putting Jerry away”. First of all, let me assure EVERYONE reading this that I am NOT putting Jerry anywhere where I am not confident he would be happy. Never! Second, this is not happening tomorrow, but I have a feeling (like it or not) that it may be a reality sooner than later. Knowing that, I’d better be prepared. One precious person asked why I didn’t use the JV’s more, since they are willing to help. To tell you the truth there are a couple of reasons. One is that I am having a hard time scheduling paid workers and volunteers. Another is my own reluctancy. I see Jerry is getting harder and harder to understand and his needs are getting greater, so I feel a little afraid that some JV’s may have bitten off more than they can chew. That may totally be generated by my own fear and imagination. One other thing is that Jerry may not even know who in the world is taking him. Actually, the only time I have not used the JV’s is when we’ve been out of town or a JV has been sick. They have been perfect.
The truth is that Jerry requires a team of people...even at one time. Let me give you an example; the party last night. When we entered the room, Jerry immediately had a deluge of men who came up to him and “took him over” with greetings, back pats and guy talk. I probably didn’t even see him for 10 minutes. One person got him seated and brought him a plate. Another brought him a drink. Someone else came to tell him a joke. That’s 3 people right there. Ya see?
Jerry was all smiles the entire night. There was a meal, a gift exchange and then some caroling. During the gift exchange, Jerry was completely entertained and even was encouraged and assisted when opening his present. He basked in the attention brought to him. Then, during the singing, Jerry actually looked at me with weepy eyes and said, “I did it.”... meaning he remembered the words to the song. He desperately wants to remain “in the game."
The events of last night were actually an example of how a good daycare should be. Love, attention, structure, continuous activity. Even the most well intentioned person cannot do that alone. That is our dilemma. There are no daycares in this area.
A note of progress, however....yesterday I said I was taking a break from Alzheimer world. I lied. I received some good news from a great male nurse with hospice. While Jerry does not qualify for hospice yet, this nurse was also very involved with the "home health care" division. He suggested I get a referral from our doctor for occupational and physical therapy. They will do muscle strengthening on his arm and also his walk (hopefully to avoid any falls) and the occupational therapist can work on his eating. We've done this before, but this time, since I'll be using these services, I can have a CNA also to shower and dress Jerry. So that's three services .....all paid for my medicare. This is only a short term fix, but any "fix" I'll take it. We'll get the evaluation in early January, the maybe that can hold us over for the next few months.
We’re making progress.