Merry Christmas!

This is a difficult time of year for caregivers, I think.  I feel like I have to keep doing all the things I always do for dad in the good weather months, even when the snow keeps coming and the temperature keeps falling.  I feel overwhelmed sometimes with it all!

For those of us in the northern states of the USA, this year has been especially cold and snowy in the 6 weeks leading up to the first day of winter.  By the first day of winter, this past Saturday, it felt like we were already half way through this cold season.

I am one of the wimpy ones that will not drive on snow.  In fact, I sometimes can’t even walk on it without sliding or falling.  And I get really cold even in the house, so when it is below 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside, I am extremely cold.  Still, I have been trying to keep up all the pre-Christmas activities and my regular visits with dad.  In the past 2 weeks we have had an inch or more of snow almost every day except for the 2 days when we had a welcome thaw.

I managed to change around my visiting days so I could continue to visit dad except for the week they were in quarantine.  Dad is usually in the lounge, asleep, when I arrive.  I wake him, tell him I am putting his snacks in his room, and then return to sit by him and try to get a conversation going.

I had planned to visit dad either today, (Christmas Eve), or tomorrow, Christmas Day.  The advance weather forecast looked like either day would be dry but cold.  Then the forecast changed and when I got up this morning the snow was coming down fast.  I called my son to see if he planned to visit dad and luckily he did, so I got my ride.

My son doesn’t understand why I get so stressed by all this.  If I can’t go out, just stay home.  But I feel like dad will feel abandoned if I don’t show up for Christmas.  I still had his present to bring him, which I brought today.  Dad wanted me to leave it in his room (and my son’s gift to dad also) so he could open it Christmas morning.

Actually I just went to visit dad 2 days ago.  While I was there, my sister and her daughter and grandchildren arrived.  We had a nice visit and my sister gave her gift to dad.  It was food so she had him unwrap it so it would go in his refrigerator.  The children played in the lounge while we talked.  Dad took intermittent naps as he frequently does lately.

Today when my son and I were talking to dad I began to realize that dad didn’t remember the visit from my sister and her family just 2 days ago.  I began to wonder why I stress so much about getting over there to see him.  Will he even remember tomorrow that I was there today?  Will he remember how his gift bags got there?

When I visited dad on Monday I saw he had a new sweatshirt and a Christmas gift bag in his room.  I asked who gave it to him.  He said he didn’t know – the sweatshirt just appeared in the chair.  Yet, I bet he took it out of the gift bag himself just days or hours before.

I think it is good that my sister and her family visited dad, even if he doesn’t remember.  They will remember and be glad they saw him, for who knows if they will get to see him again?  And I feel the same for myself and my son.  We see dad often, and dad knows that, but for each visit, he may not remember whether it was today or yesterday or the day before.

Soon I will be going south – for which I am very thankful since I get so depressed in this winter weather.  Yet, I am also stressed because I have to make all the arrangements for people to go in and check on dad while I am away.  There have been some extra challenges in lining up his companions this year which I will write about perhaps in another post.  I will just say that I am not 100% confident that this is totally covered yet.  Companions are just like the rest of us, and sometimes their own lives get complicated.

While the snow continues to fall, and cards continue to arrive in the mail, I will wish you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays with your families.

About letstalkaboutfamily

I am a retired and was the primary caregiver for both my parents before they passed. I have children and grandchildren. This blog is an attempt to connect with other caregivers and share ideas and experiences. I hope you will let me know what worked for you if you had an experience similar to mine. The main issues I am going to talk about are elder care, death and dying, assisted living, family relationships and hoarders and hoarding. Other topics will come up as I address the issues and my relationship with other family members.
This entry was posted in Alzheimer's Disease, Assisted Living Facility, Caregiving, Companion, Dementia, Elder Care, Eldercare, Inclement Weather and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Merry Christmas!

  1. boomer98053 says:

    Yours is a common plight – stressing out about the number and frequency of visits. There’s no way around feeling that emotion, but please know that your dad isn’t marking the days on his calendar, nor is he tapping his foot wondering why you’re not there. When you show up for a visit, what he acknowledges is that you are there at that time. He is most likely not fretting about the type of scheduling matters about which we concern ourselves.

    Your are a wonderful, dutiful daughter. Merry Christmas.

  2. Terry says:

    Merry Christmas dear friend!

  3. Jodi says:

    Irene has great advice and I’ll also take it. I always worry when I can’t get there. Beautiful post. We had her dinner tonight for Christmas Eve. She hates the cold but overall went well. Merry Christmas!!

  4. SwittersB says:

    A very Merry Christmas for you and your Dad.

  5. Sheryl says:

    I hope that Christmas went well. Happy New Years!

  6. liramay42 says:

    Thanks for commenting on my blog, as it led me to yours. It’s helpful to read about other people facing the same sort of challenges I face with my mom. I, too, stress out over how often I can get over to visit her. But since she doesn’t remember an hour later whether she went down to the dining room for lunch, I wonder if she’s really aware how often I visit?

    • I wonder the same about dad. But I know that I remember. And I would feel bad if something happened to dad and I hadn’t seen him in awhile. I also like to have the opportunity to make sure things are going as they should for dad in his room and activities. It is just that guilt that hangs in after I know there is no valid reason for it. But also, I like to know in my heart that he is OK because I just saw him within the past few days.

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