As our loved ones journey through Alzheimers and/or dementia, it’s important that we keep in regular contact with the rest of the family.
I call my sister each week and my brother about every other week. My sister is primary caregiver, and my brother lives in the same town—so both of them are available to check on Mom and spend quality time with her.
By contacting each of them, I receive a regular update about Mom’s journey through Alzheimers and the care she receives.
We talk about different things: sports, the weather and how it will affect this year’s wheat crop, the nieces and nephews and their activities. I give reports on my son and his school, his work.
Then we talk about Mom. “How’s she doing this week? Does she seem more content with her new living situation? Any changes? Any problems?”
Asking questions and hearing the answers helps me feel a bit more connected to what is happening in this process. Plus, it gives me ideas for how to pray—not only for Mom but also for my siblings.
Sometimes I hear the frustration in their voices. Sometimes I catch a bit of the anger and the grief that we all feel because our mom has Alzheimers. Sometimes I just want to hug my siblings through the cell phone towers and let them know how much I care for them, how much I miss them.
Another way I stay in contact is to send Mom a card each week. She keeps all her cards. She likes the ones with little animals or funny pictures.
So I go to the Dollar Store and pick out several of the colorful cards for children. Inside I write what has happened to me and my son that week, and I always sign it “Love you.”
Although Mom doesn’t say those words in return and she no longer writes her own newsy letters to me, I want her to know that this long distance caregiver loves her and wishes I could be near.
Ultimately, the LDC in me has to depend on God and his promise in Psalm 54:4, “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.”
He sustains my siblings who are right in the middle of the situation. He sustains my mom throughout each 36-hour day, and he sustains me—the long distance caregiver.
What about you? How has God sustained you in this long distance caregiving journey?