Posted by: wordofthevine | October 13, 2015

The 10 Commandments

dad.jpgPinned on the bulletin board behind my desk is The 10 Commandments of Alzheimer’s Communication. #1 – Never argue, instead agree; #2 – Never reason, instead divert; and the hardest one for me to keep…#5 – Never say “remember”, instead reminisce.

Dad has lost his “filter” and like a child, can be brutally honest at times. Last night, as I tucked him in, he was distracted and a bit upset. He wanted to know why he doesn’t know how much money he has. “Don’t I get that thing from the bank?” – Yes. “Is it addressed to me?” – Yes. “Well, how come I never see it?” Typically at this point I would break commandment #5 and say, “Don’t you remember….” Of course he doesn’t remember! Why else would we be having this conversation!

We have this discussion once or twice each month. At first I was quite offended and hurt by the accusation. I would go and retrieve the old statements and show them to him. I even had him sign the statements after he opened them, so later he could see his name written on it to prove that he had seen it. The joke was on me…he would see his signature and then ask, “How did my signature get on that piece of paper from the bank?” Every time I show him his bank statement, he would hand it to me and admit that he doesn’t understand it. I would give a detailed explanation and he would then ask, “So, how much do I have?” I ask him what it is he needs to buy. Sometimes he did have a want. Most times he didn’t know what he needed; and…around and around we go.

So, last night, when the conversation about money started (again for me and anew for him), I agreed (commandment #1): “yes, you get the statement from the bank”; and “yes, it comes addressed to you.”

I then shift to commandment #2 – “How about we look at them tomorrow?” This time, I did not break commandment #5. AND, the good news: he woke this morning not remembering last night’s conversation.

Helping an aging parent takes a great deal of patience and can be the source of much frustration. At times it is like working, loving and protecting a 3 year old. It occurred to me how truly patient God must be with me. He knows the plan he has for me; he provides me with much light for the path I must follow and still I struggle and frequently break His Commandments. This moment of insight gives me strength to carry on to I have peace knowing He is with me when the path seems too hard.  ~Brenda


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