On occasion, I find myself thinking that our Annie Oakley is losing her feistiness. When that happens, I become both relieved and concerned. You see, I’ve come to realize that this lessening of competitiveness almost always accompanies the sniffles or other signs that Annie is not on top of her game. Earlier this week I witnessed a case in point, as follows.
Shortly after her return home from her Seniors Day Program, Annie called upstairs to ask me if I’d thrown out her coffee. For a moment I froze because the day previous I had poured out two pitchers of cold and mouldy (yes, mouldy) coffee to get rid of this latest batch of never to be consumed fluid. So I had been caught red handed and thought I’d best fess up. What followed was a tirade from Annie about me always coming downstairs while she is away and throwing out things and how I have no business touching her things. Needing to think quickly, I pulled out the “Robbie” ticket and said quite authoritatively, “Annie, I just do the things that Robbie asks me to do.” Thank goodness mentioning the name of her wonderful son, my husband, worked yet again!
As it turned out, I’d not needed to confess at all, as Annie was talking about coffee she thought she’d left in the coffee pot itself that wasn’t there, and I could honestly say that I never touch that supply of coffee. I suspect that Annie drank that coffee earlier in the day and forgot she’d done that, and now needed someone to blame. After all, once an Oakley always an Oakley!
I suppose the up side to Annie’s quickness to blame and pounce can be seen as a good thing, given we have learned that we can use her lack of feistiness as a gage of how well she is feeling. When you venture into the world of caring for seniors, you learn that lots of faking it is part of the package. Whether or not the elderly folk purposely fake their health status to make themselves feel better, of if they do it to convince their caregivers that all is well so they can stay at home, I don’t know, but they do it swimmingly well. Hence, learning to read the signs becomes very important to giving them good care.
So, caregivers take heed when your care recipient is taking a strip off you for a perceived wrong. That she or he is feeling well enough to muster up the energy to cause you grief is a good thing! And, take heed also when your care recipient becomes totally compliant (particularly if that is not that person’s usual nature) and check out his or her health status.
Yours in caregiving,
*photo by Geralt