Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Intergenerational caregiving works...

I've just begun reading a book titled Dementia Beyond Drugs: Changing the Culture of Care, by G. Allen Power, M.D. I'm learning a great deal already, but one thing that really caught my attention immediately was the foreword by Dr. William H. Thomas, which talked about intergenerational care. Dr. Power talks briefly about a particular dementia facility which allows mothers and children to come for play dates. The dementia patients there apparently are responding very well, and there is more study going on regarding this subject. I look forward to learning more, and will report on the book here when I finish reading it.

We experience the blessing of intergenerational care here in our home, and our family all sees a distinct elevation of pleasure for my mom when our little granddaughter comes over. She is Mama's great-granddaughter, and soon will be four years old. There's always a lot of laughter and snuggling, "chase me!" and "find me!" going on whenever our little joy is here. Mama stops everything, and I mean everything, to spend time with her great-grandbaby, and they adore one another. It's a mutual admiration society, to say the least. At the same time, Mama's next older sister (just turned 90) is experiencing a huge amount of joy with her great-great grandson, who will be two soon. She helps care for him, and he knows and loves her dearly.

I know this probably wouldn't be the case across the board, as nothing works best for everyone, but I've seen firsthand the blessings of having the young and the old enjoying time together. We all laugh a lot more, and with more abandon. The little one knows she's loved and adored, and the elder one knows she is special, too.

Anytime our granddaughter arrives in the door, she immediately takes stock of who's present. If Mama's not in sight, we all hear an immediate "Where's Weeze?" (Most three-year-olds can't say Louise all that well, and Weeze has stuck, much to Mama's delight and pleasure.) All in all, it's good medicine for the entire crew here, and for Mama in particular. We feel very blessed to watch this time of joy in Mama's life.

Do you have an experience like this one? Tell me about it, please! I'd love to hear from you, and how things work in your situation.

Caregiver at Home

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