In today's episode we take a look at what to do when SHIFT happens.
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Be blessed. Not stressed. Why?
Because yours and their lives depend on it.
Aminah Amarachi- Your host
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2021-2022 © JITMOIA Podcast by All Paths Lead Home, LLC/SLE (TM) – All Rights Reserved
S1E13- "When SHIFT Happens: Know When and How to Pivot"
Intro Music: Royalty Free
Promo: BuzzSprout Services
Grand risings and runnings, family, and welcome back to our Joy in the Midst of It All podcast show. I am your host - Aminah Amarachi.
Now, since our last episode some SHIFTS have happened. New life has been birthed and seasoned lives have ascended. So, before we begin, I am taking this moment to acknowledge the cycles of life, our bookends, and all in between, who have graced us with their arrivals, shaped us along the way, and left me a legacy for which I pray that I never shame them in as I intend to leave one of my own. It is as it was meant to be. Thanks for all our sessions, Rev. Dr. Mama Helen Jones. Blessed restings. Lifting her families and communities up in light filled love and comfort.
Now, let’s continue our journey…
Have you ever been going along about your merry little way, when all of a sudden an instance of some experience makes its appearance on your path, and into your world, that leaves you pondering, “What in the hummus sandwich just happened?” You know… something that bowls you over, leaves you reeling and/ or feeling overwhelmed, and caught off guard. We’ve all been there, you know “When SHIFT happens.”
Today’s Episode: "When SHIFT Happens: Know When and How to Pivot"
The year: The year of your choice
The date: The one that transformed and transcended you beyond who you once were before SHIFT happened.
Road Trip…Yes, another one of our many road trips. This time we were headed to visit family. The places…well, let’s see, there was the Christian Book store, and Truck stop, and a live taping of a T.V. show to name a few…where the SHIFT happened…
Allow me to preface this story with there are always signs and wonders that attempt to prepare you for the SHIFT before it happens, so let us all acknowledge that we often times ignore the pebbles that the Universe is pelting us with, until it’s too late and we are smacked with the 2x4 of the SHIFT hitting the fan..i.e. happening.
With this in mind, the journey through Alzheimer’s is often presented as being solely or at least primarily a memory challenge for the person on the journey. Well, I am here to inform you that Alzheimer’s is way more than being forgetful. Ask any caregiver that has supported someone on the Alzheimer’s journey. God ahead, learn something new.
As I mentioned in a previous episode there are between five to seven stages of the Alzheimer’s journey (depending on which model you choose to embrace), AND, at each stage there are warning sign, cues, name it what you will, that let you know that your loved one is moving into the next stage of the journey.
For us, one of those moments was what we called “Clean Up on Aisle Nine.” Remember back in the day, the saying was, “Once an adult, and twice a child.”
Well, depending on how you manage your health and well being, your seasoned years and waning days may consist of you experiencing your second childhood as is the case with a loved one journeying through Alzheimers.
So, with our Dad, a man of humble country boy dignity, we all knew when we had to deal Clean Ups on Aisle Nine, that SHIFT was happening.
Stay tuned for more right after our first spotlight moment.
Now, for our first spotlight moment...
Spotlight Moment #1:
Our FIRST spotlight moment is for our brother in love. A man who loves his family, including his bonus in-love family. A man who works hard. Laughs often, and blessed us with the support that allowed our Dede to walk tall, and with Dignity in whatever situation we may have found ourselves, when SHIFT happened. Thanks, brother in-love for all you have been and done for our family.
Now, back to our show…
Welcome Back Family
Now, as we were making our way on one of our southern road trips, about midway, we stopped at a truck stop to gas up, get some snacks, and take a pit stop. Our Dede went into the men’s room, and we, my sister and I into the ladies room. At this juncture of our Dede’s journey, he was still getting up early, and pretty independently attending to his own daily living skills, sans cooking.
However, after coming from the ladies room, and wondering what was taking him so long. I knocked on the men’s room door, and called out to him. He responded that he was okay, yet I sensed in his voice that he may have needed some support. Now, for all your women caring for fathers, or men caring for mothers, know that there may come a time that you may have to support your loved one in a way that normally you wouldn’t find yourself doing, just because of some of society’s view on gender roles. Well, let me tell you, when I opened that men’s room door (no other men were inside) and laid my eyes on our Dede trying to do his best to maintain his dignity, during a Clean Up On Aisle Nine SHIFT, that had caught both him and us off guard, I knew then that we have PIVOTED into a new stage of his journey.
Though he quietly continued to try and order himself and the situation, I knew without any further need for conversation that as a father of daughters, and the eldest son of a family filled with sisters, he was quietly asking for support in the only way he knew how. By continuing to do his best, knowing that I would start pitching in to get the situation under control, get him squared away, so that we could be on our way.
Now, in order to handle this situation, my sister and I had to figure out how we were going to get clothing needed to support our Dede in attending to himself. So, while my sister stayed with him, I jumped into the car, drove two or three exits, to locate a store to purchase everything that our Dede needed.
Upon returning, we assisted him with getting himself situated, and making sure that we left the men’s room as we had found it before the SHIFT happened.
We could see both the worry and relief on his face as we exited the men’s room. We gathered our snacks, paid for our gas, gassed up the car, and continued on our way.
We put on his favorite gospel jams and sang our way on to our intended destination.
When SHIFT happens, you may feel “blind-sided,” or overwhelmed, or at a loss for how to handle the situation, let alone upright yourself and your loved one, and go on with your day. Well, I am here to tell you that a) Remain calm, b) Realize that depending on the journey that your loved one is on you all may switch roles, yet they are still your parents, so remember to allow the space, and grace, for them to maintain their independence and dignity as much as possible [This goes for parents raising children too. Allow them to come into their own unique selves with dignity, support, understanding and grace] c) Remember that sometimes the how might simply be to acknowledge the situation and surrender yourself to a way being made that supports you and your loved one in getting through the SHIFT as easily, effortlessly, and gracefully as possible, and d) move forward with putting protocols in place - i.e. carry extra clothes, stop more often, consider how Alzheimer’s changes the way the body processes food that your loved one used to be able to manage well, and make the adjustments as needed for the better, within the new stage of their journey.
Alzheimer’s not only steals your loved ones memory, temporally, it also steals every skill set that your loved one has learned from age zero to seasoned, that is attached to a memory cell. Thus, how to walk, feed themselves, remember that they just finished eating, even though they don’t remember and their body is still signaling hunger, or how to control their bodily functions, which can include their voice, ability to chew, swallow, etc..are what Alzheimer’s is actually about. I call it going in reverse from whatever age they currently are all the way back to the day they were born, right before your eyes.
So, just as you learn something new with each passing moment, an Alzheimer’s journeyer is unlearning all that they have ever known moment by moment, day by day, and they nor you have any way of knowing that a skill set has waned and / or vanished until SHIFT happens. So pay attention to all signs and wonder, in order to stay as on top of things however you can, when you can.
Now, it’s time for our next Spotlight moment…
Spotlight Moment #2:
Our second spotlight moment is for every family member, friend, business, and organization that supported us in supporting our Dede with living the fullest and most dignified life possible in the midst of his journey through Alzheimer’s. Thanks, from our family to yours, for each and every small part that you’ve played along the way.
Now, back to our show…
Here are my take-away, tip, tool, and toss.
Learn everything you can about the stages of any journey that you or your loved one may be traveling through - dating, union, birth, parenthood, elderhood, health challenges, new town, new career, homegoings, and caregiving. Why? Because this is one way to mitigate the 2x4 of SHIFT happening, and as such when it appears you are better able to focus on how you will handle each situation that arises.
Be willing to allow silence to fill the space in a SHIFT happens situation. Many times all that is needed is a knowing glance, reassuring look, an arm around a shoulder, or a rolling up of your sleeves and just doing what you see needs to be done to maintain a loved one’s dignity in that moment.
A travel care package that includes an extra set of clothing, toiletries, washcloth, towel, wipes, etc. for everyone traveling in the car. You never know when you, yourself, may be the one in need of support.
Don’t be afraid to not know what to do, nor when, or how. Just get still and ask the Universe what the next most appropriate step is, then proceed accordingly, with grace. Then, go on about the day, without obsessing about the SHIFT that happened beyond being grateful for a way being made for you to be able to PIVOT with wisdom, discernment, and grace.
In closing, I’d like to take this time to thank you all, both my seasoned and new followers, for spending your time with me on today’s Joy in the Midst of It All journey. Now, take a moment to tap the button on your favorite podcast streaming platform to tune in, follow, subscribe and rate the show. You may have to log into the platform, depending on the service you use in order to rate the show.
You will also receive updates when a new episode is released. We release an episode every second and fourth Thursday of the month. OK. So, go ahead and tag a family caregiver, or a few, if you know them, and tell them one thing you have learned today, or from any previous episode, that will support you, and maybe them, in moving through the caregiving journey with more ease, no matter who or how God has chosen for you to offer your gift of caregiving to.
Then, blaze a trail on over to my podcast website, for the show notes, transcript, and any links, and if your heart so leads you tip me what I like to call a “Cup of J.O.E. (A jolt of encouragement and support),” over at my Buy Me a Cup of Coffee website link. Understand, though, I do prefer tea. You will see the link in the show notes.
I am your host Aminah, and I want you to be blessed and less stressed...Why?, because yours and their lives depend on it. Have a great day.
Outro Music: Royalty Free
Buy Me a Cup of Coffee (Tea) for a J.O.E. (Jolt of Encouragement and Support)
2021-2022 © JITMOIA Podcast by All Paths Lead Home, LLC/SLE (TM) – All Rights Reserved