What a curious way to start a blog about advice to caregivers! — But I have to tell you a funny story regarding dental floss. Prior to being the caregiver for my dad, who had Alzheimer’s, I never knew what challenges I would face. One day, as I was picking up my Dad from his memory care unit to go to breakfast, I noticed his pants were hemmed to right below his knee. I asked Dad what happened to his pants and he replied, “Well, you know, my girlfriend said my pants needed to be hemmed.” I knew his pants didn’t need to be hemmed because they already fit him and they definitely did not need to be hemmed to just below the knee.
Dad insisted on wearing his pants. As we walked to our table in the restaurant he was saluting everyone, which he liked to do because he was in the Air Force for 24 years and it is his way of saying hi. So, he is saluting people in all his glory while the whole restaurant is staring at me because of his pants. I was walking with my chest up and saying to myself, “Okay, do not be embarrassed…do not be embarrassed.” I was trying to comfort myself by remembering that he has Alzheimer’s and I am a big person, I should not care what other people think.
When we got home from breakfast my wife looked curiously at my Dad’s pants and how they were hemmed and said, “Well, first of all, whoever stitched this did a wonderful job and she did a ‘so-and-so’ stitch. More importantly though, look at what she used.” The woman had used dental floss! At first, I was so upset about her ruining a good pair of pants that I wanted to have a discussion with the director at Dad’s facility about the situation and to find how they let that happen. But as my adult children came over that Sunday and saw Dad, they got a chuckle out of it. My daughter made a comment about how special it was for his girlfriend to feel so much love for him that she wanted to sew his pants. At that point, I knew this was one of those things I did not need to speak to the director of his facility about.
What I learned from this is not to sweat the small stuff because stuff like that will happen and you have to choose your battles. You have to take a comical look at some of the things they do and roll with it because you cannot control certain things.
Ironically, two weeks later, Dad’s glasses were broken (the screw had actually come out) and when I went to pick him up, guess what he had used to keep his lens in place. Yeah, Dad used dental floss to hold his glasses together.
William Cummings, CPA, Financial Advisor was the caregiver for his father who had Alzheimer’s. He felt so overwhelmed by all the decisions that needed to be made that he wrote a book about his experiences. He does various speaking engagements on the subject of caregiving. Buy William’s book, It Wasn’t On My Calendar on Amazon.