Monday, October 22, 2012

Let'em Nap


The last two times I stopped by to see my mother at the care center she was napping.

She has gotten into a routine of getting up, eating breakfast and then going back to bed for a short nap.

The first time I sat watching her sleep and agonized over whether or not to wake her. My visits seem to mean so much to her—and me—that I didn’t want to lose even a little time that we might spend together.

Finally, I decided that while sleeping she was at peace, a state she too seldom finds while awake. So I kissed her lightly on the cheek and left a note for the aides to read to her when she awoke.

The next time I visited and she was napping it was a no-brainer. Let her sleep.

If you’re a caregiver and the responsibility makes you crazy it would be easy to slip into a habit of visiting when you know the person is napping, or in physical therapy, or eating or some other activity that allows you to tag the base, say “I was there” and move on with your day…with your life.

I’m not making judgments here, but I would suggest that if you get into that sort of habit your slackness will catch up with you in terms of your sense of responsibility and character. You’ll self-image will take a hit on the basis of skipping out.

Don’t worry when something like this happens every now and then. Don’t worry about using the situation to help you meet other responsibilities, give you some self-time or simply letting your step away to catch a break.

Just don’t use it as an excuse to duck your responsibilities. If you do you’ll end up feeling like a loser in the end…and at that point your caregiver responsibility may be over, you can’t make up for your behavior, and you’ll beat yourself up for it for years.

I’m going to see Mama today after lunch. I know she’ll be awake and, in fact, early afternoon is when some of her most challenging behaviors begin. During those times I’ve been able to calm her, help her aides and feel like I’ve really contributed to her care. A win-win-win.

Since I’ve caught a break the last couple of times I’m probably a little more up than usually and better able to weather my visit.

***If you know a caregiver, help them by forwarding this blog to them.

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