The Company: Dementia and Partners
Job Title: Caregiver to a loved one with dementia
Duties: Advocacy or dealing with agencies, organizations and bureaucracy
Nurse and Social worker
Mother, Father, teacher, daughter, son, husband, wife, friend, protector, security blanket, lover, dance partner, punching bag (literally and figuratively), pacifier
Drug Dealer doling out correct medications at right times and right amounts
Primary Personal Care aide
Archivist or keeper of memories
Mood assessor, Ego booster
Entertainment Manager and Cultural attaché
Detective and finder of lost articles
Fashion advisor and dresser – no clown outfits or black left shoe with brown right shoe allowed. “You need a coat and scarf. It is cold outside.”
Language expert, Translator, Interpreter
Dietitian – Chief Cook and bottle washer
Information Research Scientist to wade through the massive amount of information. It is continuous learning.
Child care worker, Psychologist
Financial manager and banker
Transportation service provider and personal taxi service
Ghost buster when as example you are told: “There is a man outside the bedroom with his wife and children. Are they sleeping with us tonight?”
Logistics clerk – you will be making appointments with many professionals you never knew existed.
Record keeper-Careful notes result in better care. You work with your care providers and medical professionals so there is no guess work.
And other duties as they arise
Special Skills needed: Flexibility, Quick learner, Decision Maker, Comedian, Political skills aka therapeutic lying/ deflection/distraction/redirection.
Patience, patience and more patience
A thick hide is a real bonus
Emergency services coordination in knowing when and whom to call on a list you have created that is easily accessible when needed
Benefits: The complete and total trust of your loved one
Recognizing the awesome responsibility of having complete control over another human being, your loved one
Unconditional love, which is sometimes hidden but is always there
Acquiring enumerable new skills, whether you want to or not
No experience necessary. You will be given full, free tuition and fast track your career through Dementia and Alzheimer Disease University.
We guarantee a full and rewarding life though we cannot guarantee your sanity
Date of Hire: Immediately
Hours of Work: The 36 hour day – This book is a good resource as well as your daily work hours
Contract duration: 6 to 20 years or more. Think “Until death us do part.”
This is an equal opportunity employer – age, status, wealth, race, colour, creed, education, health status, relationship, sex, ethnicity, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful or other does not matter. This company will take on anyone.
The Meander: So often this phrase is uttered “I did not sign up for this”. We do not choose this job. It is thrust upon us. On my dark days I console myself with this: “Love guides me; Empathy empowers me; Patience is my best tool.” It is my mantra. My Bert, love, empathy and patience keep me going.
Note – As I was about to publish this post a call came in from a friend. I mentioned the content of this post and her immediate response was: “You left out one very important duty- Search and Rescue.” True. Not wanting to change the original post I decided to add this note. I also invite all who read it to comment and add any other duties I may have missed. It may be that no one person can cover all the changes and activities that will come out of a brain with dementia. Individuals exhibit different behaviours even though they all have dementia. Writing the ones we each encounter may help many of us already on this journey and others who may find themselves walking it in the future. Forewarned is forearmed.