My friend Pat and I were talking about this the other day and she said I should write about it if I hadn't already done so. I thought that I had so I searched high and low but could not find the piece. Just came across it now as I was continuing the editing of my upcoming memoirs with the working title: GYROSCOPE: An Alzheimer's Love Story.
This morning's routine was the same for Gregory. He woke up thirsty but didn't know what to do about it. He needed reminding to sit on the toilet for a while. Then he needed reminding to shave, to have the shaver taken out of the medicine cabinet for him, to be turned on, and to be put into his hand as it was guided towards his face. He needed help with putting on his deodorant and his face cream. He needed guidance into his undershirt oriented correctly for him and his underpants as well. He slipped his arms into the correctly held for him sweat shirt and his sweat pants as well.
All this was done with love and patience and kindness without making him ask first or struggle trying first. This has always been the conundrum for me, in which if I do it all, he loses the ability more quickly but if I hold back we run the risk of frustration and fear. He has gotten to the point recently that I have just decided to do it all for him because he cannot do it for himself anymore.
After we were finished, he held me and cried into my shoulder muttering about how proud he was of himself that he was able to do it all without any help. So, my doing it all for him caused the memories of his doing it all for himself to be strong and the ruler of his emotions. Muscle memory! A strange lesson for me to learn but a good one.