These are two very special people. Karl and Becky come twice a week to help Gary while I run errands, shop, keep appointments, and help my parents. Technically they are Gary's Care Givers, but more than that, they have become our friends. We've been acquainted for a long time, but since July, they have been officially helping us in more ways than I can count. I call them the Above and Beyond Caregivers! They are my A.B.C.'s Here's why:
Karl reads to Gary. Sometimes Gary's memory books, and sometimes the Bible.
One day, while there were hymns playing Becky noticed that Gary was mouthing the words to "How Great Thou Art," so she started a list of the songs that Gary was responding to, so she could tell me when I got home. I add these to his ipod playlist that he listens to when falling asleep at night.
Our community has a pool room, which makes for a nice outing for Gary. Becky knows how Gary loves patterns, shapes and colors and arranges the balls in the triangles for him to see and feel.
Karl shoots some pool for Gary to watch. The sound of the balls and the movement is stimulating and enjoyable for him.
Simple text in large letters on a book cover, found in the Pool Room, and placed in front of Gary for him to read gives Gary the opportunity to keep using his eyes, and mind to read.
This is one of their countless walks around our community using the wheelchair, which is necessary once Gary gets tired and his legs get too wobbly. Karl is so good at pointing things out to Gary and I'm sure Gary enjoys a male voice in his life, since so much of care giving is done by women.
On this particular day, Gary found a feather and brought it back home.
Becky and I laugh about how many times Gary and Karl are looking over a wall in the photos. This time, Gary was inspecting the rock work. Karl appreciates a well-built wall as well and patiently waits for Gary to finish checking it out. Details are so important to someone with dementia. You never know what is going to catch their eye, and it takes a patient person to give them time to think about it.
This is the Valencia Car Wash. Karl and Becky have taken Gary here several times. Gary really enjoys going through the wash, and is fascinated with the water and equipment. They buy gas too, and this is interesting to him. It's the "guy" things he used to do on his own, and riding along with Karl is satisfying to him.
He likes to try and put CD's into the player of their car, so they gave him a blank one that says "Gary's" on it. He brings it when they get out of the car and inserts it into rock walls, and other places.
At the nearby mall, there's plenty to do and during a weekday morning, it's uncrowded and easier to navigate with Gary.
When they get back from one of their "Adventures with Gary" he's tired, and ready for lunch. Karl and Gary usually watch some Discovery Channel, or Classic Car Restoration programs while Becky gives Gary lunch. Today it was "Monster Trucks" which Gary watched intently. When I show up toward the end of the day, Karl meets me at the car to unload the groceries and keeps the trash cans emptied. To top it all off, Becky has photos ready to show me from the day's outing if there was one.
It is not easy loading Gary in and out of the car, helping him walk in a straight line, standing up/sitting down, or feeding him lunch. It would be easier to let Gary sit in a chair and do nothing. But Karl and Becky CARE about us and are making many of Gary's days full and interesting, and I love them for that!