Living with someone who has alzheimer's can be a nightmare for some caretakers. Actually I had decided, the day of the diagnosis, it was something I could get through without losing my mind. But I also knew the only way that would happen was to not only keep, but to hone my sense of humor.
As we sat in the car, outside the memory clinic, I told Alan what the doctors had said. I told him "We can get through this if we laugh our way through it."
First of all, I now know he didn't totally understand the implications. Secondly, he didn't believe it. That was a lifetime ago. In actuality it's only been five months. You know how time flies when you're having fun? Let me tell you time drags on and on when you're not having fun.
I have one huge advantage…I was an only child and rarely had other kids to play with, so I learned how to amuse myself without having anyone I could talk to except my trusty dog. He couldn't talk back to me. It's rather like living with someone who has alzheimer's, except the dog was more fun and was trainable.
We have a new game that's very interesting. I have fought the battle of trying to get the cat back in the house for months now. He kept escaping whenever Alan went outside and then it would take sometimes hours to get the cat back inside. It kept me upset, which was my fault for buying an expensive cat in the first place. I was worried about the cat being outside and was determined he was going to be an inside cat, so he'd be safe. Alan would even get up in the middle of the night, open a door and stick his head out just to see if it was cold outside. It was. And the cat would slip right by him and be stuck out in the cold the rest of the night. I wouldn't become aware he was out, until I woke up in the morning without the cat biting me.
I decided, to keep my sanity, I was going to have to give up this battle. So I started letting the cat outside every morning. He loves playing in the yard, chasing butterflies and grasshoppers, and he stays in the front yard. I leave the door in my sun room open so he can go in and out. Then I keep him in sometime in the afternoon, check him over for ticks, brush him and we all take a nap.
The game immediately changed. Alan now stays busy trying to get the cat back in and closing my sliding glass door. I constantly have to make him open my door back up so the cat can get in. Reminding him of ANYTHING has to be done every few minutes most of the time. But he just can't stand seeing that cat outside. He worries, he chases the cat, he closes the door, he opens the door…which is rather amusing considering the game has done an about face.
Everyone knows how cats just love to play chase, so they're both much happier now. Cat chases butterflies and Alan chases Cat. WHEEEE!