I’ve sought the good amidst the hard work of clearing out thousands of pounds of belongings from someone who was unable and unwilling to do so. Some smiles of sentimentality for the beautiful Christmas ornaments, some groans when discovering 10 years worth of substantial booklets from cruise companies selling upcoming sailings and opera/ballet books offering season tickets to subscribers.
1. Are my thoughts true? The full work of Byron Katie is phenomenal- check out her website for worksheets and instructions. Here’s my shortcut: Cleaning out this apartment is going to be awful. Is it true? Well, yes (this is my fear and bad attitude talking). Under what circumstances might is be less awful? Here are my ideas:
2. I will set a timer so I don’t get burned out - see flylady.net for tips about using a timer. [This is not an endorsed post- I just find these two mentors to be tremendously helpful.] I will immediately place as many things as possible into a trash bag or recycling bag and take those bags out of the house multiple times per day. So far I have not followed the recent trend of thanking items for their service, but you can do that if it helps!
3. I will bring my own cut up lime and orange to add to the water I’m bringing with me so I don’t get dehydrated. I will bring healthy snacks with me so that I don’t get hangry. In addition to taking breaks inside the apartment, I will leave for lunch, to take a walk, and for dinner. I will listen to GREAT music while I am sorting through everything- for me, this includes Christian praise music. I will allow myself to decompress in the evening and to get enough sleep so I can do more tomorrow.
4. Next thought: Is it true that a “nice person” would take into their own home all of the possessions of their loved one? NO! Whew, finally an easier one (for me). Now, on to finding a charitable organization that can help other people who need kitchen items, a sewing machine, etc.
5. Next thought: visiting someone with dementia in a nursing home will be devastating. Is this true? Well, yeah. Under what circumstances might the visits not be terribly sad? Here are my ideas:
6. Bring photos of happy times to share with the person who has dementia. I did not have time to make an album. Just 10 photos are enough. Not today's blog post photos!
7. Set a time limit on the visit. Is it true that “good people” spend hours and hours sitting with their loved one who has dementia? Maybe. Is it true that I am a “bad person” for spending one hour per day with my loved one who has dementia? No. Even though the person with dementia will be sad when you leave, chances are high that they will not remember the visit.
8. Be grateful for the life of the person with dementia, and their fighting spirit. Sing. In this case, "Dona Nobis Pacem" resulted in a sing-along canon (Latin for Give Us Peace)
9. First/last thought: is it true that a long drive/flight for this purpose will be hard? Yup. Now that is what I call a first world problem! OK, how can this long journey be slightly better? Buy/borrow magazines, books, bring snacks (I’m sensing a theme here!), bring music and headphones, a pillow, needlepoint or your hobby of choice. Pray, sing, and trust God for all of these situations.
What are your tips for a better experience with cleaning out someone’s apartment or visiting a loved one with dementia?