Love, Resilience, and Renewal

A Series by Caregiver Gerald Lloyd Wood

“This series of short stories and the accompanying original art were created to document and share my journey as a dementia caregiver. If you are caring for a loved one who is challenged by Alzheimer’s or another dementia, may they resonate with you while seeking meaning in your caregiving work and a better, brighter and healthier future. If this is your first time stopping by, I recommend starting from the beginning with Story #1: A Few Things I’ve Learned.”


Love, Resilience, and Renewal

When Should Placement Occur? Story #7

Acrylic abstract expression painting on canvas, “4-Ways to Sunday.” Thought for the day: “Be thankful for your blessings and anticipate tomorrow with hope and enthusiasm!”

A recurring question is when to place your person in outside care. Support groups were a great benefit to us during the arduous journey of my wife’s Alzheimer’s disease. They were made up of amazing people from all walks of life that provided a wealth of information to share. We found the answer to that question there.

Each time a topic of interest was discussed, I made notes in a dog-eared notebook I carried to each meeting. Information of special interest had stars drawn in the margins. This proved extremely helpful when time came to place my wife in an Alzheimer’s dementia care community. We were fortunate with several facilities to choose from that offered specialized dementia care. Multiple stars marked our choice from previous meetings, making the process easier, quicker and less traumatic when the time came. The place we chose was convenient for visits and more importantly, secure.

Could I provide her with loving, compassionate and comfort care?

Placement Considerations

My trusted notes suggested the following 5 guidelines for determining when it might be time for placement. Keeping variables in mind, the basics are:

  • Behaviors
  • Falls
  • Incontinence
  • Something happens to caregivers
  • Homecare becomes infeasible as an option

Other considerations might include (a) Timing/Availability of facilities; (b) Financial (c) Meeting requirements for state and/or local assistance; and (d) Seeking advice on legal matters from Elder Care attorneys who specialize in placements. A good lawyer builds relationships within governmental agencies for seamless and speedy approvals.

Alternatives to Placement

Ways to remain at home longer would include a paid professional caregiver on a relief basis or live-in as a 24/7 aid. Hospice is another excellent option. I had believed wrongly that hospice was only for urgent end-of-life care. Of course, that is not always true. Our wonderful Hospice of the Valley gave us three more months at home with assistance with bathing, nursing, physician oversight, supplies, chaplain, social workers and caregiver training. They then followed her after placement to provide bi-lateral care with facility staff for a number of months. They stayed with her for comfort care until the end.

Running Out of Steam

Wanting to keep your person at home longer is understandable for a number of reasons but may not be wise. I perhaps remained a caregiver too long which oftentimes happens. Friends and family urged me to move more quickly but we had our reasons. It made financial sense to keep her at home and I felt my skills as a caregiver had improved such that I could provide her with loving, compassionate and comfort care to my satisfaction. But, time finally ran out as I ran out of steam! It was a heart-rending, complex decision that benefited from the input of family and friends.

© 2023 Gerald Lloyd Wood. This story and accompanying art are used with permission of the author, Gerald Lloyd Wood.

4-Ways to Sunday

After Linda’s passing, Gerald reinvented himself by taking classes and finding new potential as an abstract expressionist artist. Each story in the Love, Resilience, and Renewal series is accompanied by one of his works of art.

Acrylic abstract expression painting on canvas, “4-Ways to Sunday.” Thought for the day: “Be thankful for your blessings and anticipate tomorrow with hope and enthusiasm!”

Acrylic abstract expression painting on canvas, “4-Ways to Sunday.”  Thought for the day: “Be thankful for your blessings and anticipate tomorrow with hope and enthusiasm!”

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