Saturday, July 3, 2010

thoughts/notes to self re: taking care of someone

I was thinking about how I still forget to do various little things when I'm taking care of Grandpa - one day I'll forget to give him his towel/napkin at lunch, another day I'll forget to offer him a mid-morning snack, etc.  I've been helping him the last 6 months, a lot more so the last 2 months, and I expect myself to not forget this stuff anymore.  But then I remember my work with students with severe/multiple disabilities, and how offering them choices and helping them attain as much autonomy as possible was so critical for their happiness and quality of life.  We all need that, but you have to pay special attention to that with students with SMD, because so many routine tasks are done for them.

Perhaps it's okay that I forget little stuff with Grandpa.  He always reminds me, and that gives him a chance to participate in his own caring.  He has a medication that is a cream that you rub into his arms like lotion.  When it's time for that med, I help him take off his watch and then walk away to get the supplies.  The first several times I did that he kept holding his arms out, waiting for me to push his sleeves up, then he'd say something like, "Should I put my sleeves up?" and did it himself.  As long as he can do that, and anything else, for himself, I will wait for him to do so, and help only when/as needed.  When your life shrinks down to spending all of your time in bed or in a recliner, pushing up your own sleeves is a big deal.  I won't play dumb or pretend to forget things, but I think I will be more intentional, more conscious of what I do and don't do for him, and continue to encourage him to be part of the process.  He loves laughing at me when I forget stuff, anyway.

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