Despite the hopelessness of a terminal disease, Carol finds ways to bring her mother (who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s) JOY each day with creative activities. (Ed.)
Sole caregiver for Mom in advance stage of dementia
Carol Wright has been the sole caregiver for her mother, who is in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, for over eight years. Like most caregivers, she was thrust into the position suddenly and made the choice to leave her home in another state to come live with her mom.
“Carol has found innovative ways to help her mom enjoy each day despite the hopelessness of late-stage Alzheimer’s.” – Former caregiver and selection committee member.
Mother loves music, babies, and animals.
What impresses me about Carol is the creativity she uses in her caregiving role. Her mother loves music, babies, and animals; so, Carol has gone out of her way to see that her mother is entertained.
Sunflower seeds, not peanuts, are better at the squirrel-feeding table.
Because it’s difficult to bring her mom into the world of nature, Carol has brought nature to her mom by setting up a squirrel-feeding table. It is located just outside, right next to her mother’s window, so that she can sit and watch the squirrels eating. Carol suggests using sunflower seeds instead of peanuts because the squirrels will stay at the table longer eating the seeds. She explains that “They tend to take the peanuts back to their nests.”
Conducts the orchestra
Carol’s Mom also enjoys babies so Carol has purchased a series entitled Classical Babies. And because she loves music, her Mom can also often be found enthusiastically “conducting” the orchestra seen on some of the videos. This not only helps to entertain her but gives her some upper body exercise.
How Mom gets Waves and Kisses
Carol says it’s important to make friends outside of the home and engage them in her mom’s care. This includes the hair salon gals (who now fight over who gets to work on her), and staff at a few coffee bars. Carol had a “business card” made with a photo of Mom riding and smiling on the electric supermarket cart. On it she wrote “Make Mom’s DAY! Wave to her and Throw KISSES!” She hands the card to people, while walking ahead of her mom. This makes their day too.
“I wish I had her creativity! What an awesome daughter.” – Current caregiver to spouse and selection committee member.
Sharing photos encourages Carol’s neighbors to visit.
She has also enlisted the help of her neighbors. Whenever they visit, she takes photos and makes multiple prints – one for the neighbor and one for her mom. This way her mom can see that she is loved by other people. (Her mom can spend hours sorting through the photos.) Delivering the photos to the neighbors gives them an excuse to visit.
Entertaining smartphone apps
Carol also recently discovered that her “smart phone” is a great tool for entertaining her mom. There are many simple apps available on these phones such as popping bubbles, making fireworks explode under one’s fingertips, and feeding fish in a make-believe but life-like koi pond. The apps work for play and therapy because they are touch sensitive and entertaining for a person in the later stages of dementia.
Carol’s unusual approaches to keeping her mother engaged and entertained demonstrate her devotion and love to her mom in a way that always inspires me.
For caregiver support, Carol actively participates on three online forums and peruses caregiver-related websites for new information.
Nominated by Shelley Webb, RN, Former Caregiver
The Caregiver’s Voice thanks the many family caregivers like Carol Wright, who go above and beyond to provide quality and loving care. We are proud to recognize you for your inspiration through hope, knowledge, dedication, love, and humor. Because your stories are worthy of recognition, during the coming weeks, The Caregiver’s Voice will feature one or two more of the finalists in the TCV blog.
NOW ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS for CAREGIVER of the MONTH of DECEMBER
Right now, we are accepting nominations for our next Caregiver of the Month. We invite you to submit nominations for family and professional caregivers for the month of December. Please click on Nominate TCV’s December Caregiver of the Month.
GIFTS for our FAMILY CAREGIVER of the MONTH
The Caregiver’s Voice will be sending Carol Wright a copy of “Where’s my shoes?” My Father’s Walk through Alzheimer’s and Finding the JOY in Alzheimer’s: When Tears are Dried with Laughter. We’d like to give our deserving caregiver recipients more prizes. Right now, The Caregiver’s Voice solely underwrites this program and charges no application fees. If there is a sponsor who would like to underwrite this recognition program–your banner appears for one month–we welcome you. Please see our Sponsor page for more information.