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I wrote the following on Friday:

This morning I found her curled up in her litterbox. I'm guessing that she either got in there and was too confused to get out, or she was just too tired to bother.

* * * * * * *

We leave for vacation on Monday. Meaning, of course, that everything now is a scramble to get things done before we go. I have work to deliver to Special Collections this afternoon. My wife has a hard deadline for completing a project this afternoon, and then another bunch of stuff that has to be done before we head out for the airport.

This is, in other words, no time for a crisis with one of the pets.

But life happens on its own schedule.

So does death.

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Sun Oct 02, 2011 at 08:54 AM PDT

CareGiving Kos: what's important.

by Shadan7

Four years ago we were in the closing months of my Mother-in-law's life. She was starting her final downturn, and had a series of transient ischemic attacks. On October 1, 2007 I posted a piece titled "Another day, another T.I.A.". Here's an excerpt from that:

So, we wait. For either another T.I.A., or a full-fledged stroke. And we try to make her days as comfortable and enjoyable as we can, within the constraints of our own exhaustion and need to pace ourselves for what could yet be a long haul.

And in the meantime, tomorrow is our 20th wedding anniversary. For the most part, observation of same is postponed until later by tacit agreement between my wife and I, though we will make a favorite meal and bake a cake. We have one another, the details will sort themselves out later.

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Sun Sep 18, 2011 at 08:40 AM PDT

CareGiving Kos: why?

by Shadan7

As part of their coverage of this week's upcoming World Alzheimer's Action Day, my local paper is doing a review/profile of our care-giving book. In preparation for that, the reporter assigned to the story sent me a series of questions, including the following:

Was there something you might describe as a positive or perhaps even beautiful aspect of caring for your mother-in-law at all?

I like to think of this, and many of the related sorts of questions that care-givers get as: why? Why do it?

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Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 08:03 AM PDT

CareGiving Kos: Stress? What Stress?

by Shadan7

It'll come as no surprise to anyone that care-giving is stressful.

But what does that really mean? I mean, in terms of what it does to you?

Following my care-giving for Martha Sr, I spent a lot of time "recovering" from being a long-term care-provider. Here's an excerpt from something I wrote about 6 months after her death:

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Did you know that September - for the very first time - is World Alzheimer's Month?

CareGiving Kos is a community diary series posted generally on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening by volunteer diarists. This group & series is for those who are now (or have been) in the role of being a care-giver for a loved one. We want this space to be supportive and free of squabbles. Our only rule is to be kind to yourself and others who are going through a very difficult time. Please respect the concept of this group: No Politics Here.1

 

1 By "no politics" we don't mean "avoid politics completely" - it's too relevant, at times, to portions of the topics discussed. But keep any references to politics focused and within the context of the caregiving topic. Avoid flames, flaming, flame-wars and dragging the discussion off-topic. Thank you.

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Sun Aug 21, 2011 at 08:43 AM PDT

CareGiving Kos: Sunday Support

by Shadan7

Good morning!

Our boilerplate:

CareGiving Kos is a community diary series posted generally on Sunday morning and Wednesday evening by volunteer diarists. This group & series is for those who are now (or have been) in the role of being a care-giver for a loved one. We want this space to be supportive and free of squabbles. Our only rule is to be kind to yourself and others who are going through a very difficult time. Please respect the concept of this group: No Politics Here.

I'd like to amend that very last bit for clarity - in a previous diary, someone worried that talking about cuts to programs for people who need care and for care-providers was too "political".

I think all of us realize that the personal is political, and you don't get much more personal than care-giving. I certainly don't want to stop people from discussing such relevant topics, but I am unsure how to tweak the wording - suggestions?

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Sun Aug 14, 2011 at 08:47 AM PDT

CareGiving Kos: We need to talk.

by Shadan7

Good morning! I hope everyone has had a good week, and will feel free to share their triumphs and failures, no matter how small.

Which brings me to my first item for this week: JVolvo made a suggestion that we should consider some kind of standard 'boilerplate' to use in each diary, along the lines of what the KosAbility group has. Here's their's:

KosAbility is a community diary series posted at 5 PM ET every Sunday and Wednesday by volunteer diarists. This is a gathering place for people who are living with disabilities, who love someone with a disability, or who want to know more about the issues surrounding this topic.  There are two parts to each diary.  First, a volunteer diarist will offer their specific knowledge and insight about a topic they know intimately. Then, readers are invited to comment on what they've read and/or ask general questions about disabilities, share something they've learned, tell bad jokes, post photos, or rage about the unfairness of their situation. Our only rule is to be kind; trolls will be splayed or neutered or sent to Limbo.
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 at 07:26 AM PDT

CareGiving Kos: Let's chat.

by Shadan7

So, after discussing the matter back and forth with several people who responded to my group message this week, the consensus is that doing two CareGiving Kos diaries a week is the way to go. One will be a 'formal' diary by one author, on a specific topic related to care-giving, and the other will be a less formal diary more along the lines of an Open Thread or general support/discussion group. In addition, any of our members can go ahead and republish any appropriate diary to the group as they come up.

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Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 10:16 AM PDT

CareGiving Kos: "Women's Work"?

by Shadan7

Let me be perfectly clear right up front: I do not think that care-giving of any sort is, or should be considered, the purview of any given group defined by gender (or race, or ethnicity, or sexual orientation, or...)

Now, with that understood...

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Fri Jul 29, 2011 at 09:10 AM PDT

CareGiving Kos: Respite?

by Shadan7

While we were caring for my mother-in-law, who had Alzheimer's, we tried to make sure to get respite breaks now and then.

CareGiving Kos is a group  for those who are now (or have been) in the role of being a care-giver for a loved one. Intended to be a support group and information resource for all care-providers and the many challenges they face.  If you would like to join, just send us a message or leave a comment indicating that. All are welcome to follow us, participate, and share.
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Making the decision to care for a loved one means a lot of things. Among them may be sacrificing your own financial health.

CareGiving Kos is a group  for those who are now (or have been) in the role of being a care-giver for a loved one. Intended to be a support group and information resource for all care-providers and the many challenges they face.  If you would like to join, just send us a message or leave a comment indicating that. All are welcome to follow us, participate, and share.
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Anyone who takes on a care-giving role finds out pretty quickly how isolating that can be.

It can come from the necessity of staying home to be with the person you care for. It can come from friends and family not being comfortable on intruding in what they perceive as a private matter. It can come from the exhaustion that goes with being a care-provider: who has the energy to go out? It can come from others being unsure of how to act around the loved one you are caring for due to ignorance or fear. It can come from not wanting to have people visit since you just don't have the extra energy to be a good housekeeper. It can come from lack of spending money to allow a care-giver to go out to do things. It can come from a thousand different sources.

One example of how this happened to my wife and I below the fold.

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