Socializing, respite, and Nights Of Hope And Joy


Journal entry, July 12, 2016

Thanks to the folks from the Purple City Alliance — here it’s Riverside CA, a bunch of caregivers & care recipients got together for food, music, & fun at a local senior center a few days ago. It’s a monthly get-together called Nights Of Hope And Joy, with a live band and all. Dad had a good time, and he did some socializing, which is always good for him.


See, socializing is good. Gets Dad out among them. This sounds terrible, but this means other people are watching him for a couple of hours and I get a little respite. I’ll take it.

Unabashed pitch here: This one’s at the Janet Goeske Senior Center at Sierra Ave (at Streeter), Riverside CA. Second Tuesday of the month, at 6 pm. Rich Gardner is the front man here. We’ve been doing this about six months, and it’s growing.

Not just fun, but it’s a resource. One of many, and it’s really fun.

Does your town have something like this?


Lost abilities or not, it’s still a guy thing


Journal entry from Dec 17. A little dated, but relevant:

We had a late one last night. A Christmas party at Ella’s, and this was way beyond Dad’s stamina rating. He was a hot mess coming home. Okay, I was kinda sorta, but he needed a walker to get to the car. I think we’re going to start traveling with his in the trunk, just ’cause.


We got lucky here. Ella’s 92 and not always so steady on her feet. Though I’ve never seen her with it, she does have a walker she keeps around the house. Dad used it to the car and I brought it back right away.

His balance is shot. Falls over a lot. Part of it is aftereffects from his strokes, part of it from a bad leg, and also because he’s top-heavy. Still a tall guy, and he really does look like a busted construction crane tottering down the street when he walks.

He keeps his walker in the bedroom, where it holds extra blankets. He really needs to use it, but I’m not gonna make him. You gotta understand this. It’s a guy thing.

Mom would have pushed him, perhaps badgered him to use the walker. She was protective that way, and never would have understood how we guys think.

I still had to make the executive call. We have three walkers around the house. His blanket rack is one. Mom’s old one sits in the garage, and there’s no way he’ll want to use that one. The third was kicking around, and now sits in the trunk. Just in case he needs it.

I really expect him to bite the bullet and use his fairly soon. But he has to make the choice. He may have lost a lot of his faculties, but he still has some pride and dignity. Don’t want to take that from him.


Detachment: Can you do it?


Journal entry, January 8, 2016:

Was thinking a little about Debbie today. She was a girlfriend around 1999-2000, and today’s her 53rd birthday. How time flies when you’re having fun.

Debbie worked a lot of different jobs, from taxi driving to construction to working with special-needs kids. But she was in the nursing-home biz for a while. A CNA, I think. She loved it and she was a real people person, but there was a problem. She tended to get attached to her people.

Her mom told me about it. A problem with people in nursing homes is they tend to die, and when you’re attached to them a little bit of yourself dies. That’s what happened to Debbie. She finally got to where she couldn’t work any more.

Okay. Situation was different for her. She was a hireling, and she didn’t know her people before taking care of them. Not quite the same as taking care of a close family member, but some things remain the same.

I think it’s a thing of detachment. Maybe it’s my journo training, but I’ve always been able to suspend the feelings, step back from the situation and take care of business. When wiping Mom’s butt I never looked at her face. Made it easier to forget for a minute who I was taking care of.


Can everybody do that? Probably not. But it’s one of those things, like a sense of humor, that can keep you from going nutso on the job.