One of our newer residents has fairly advanced Alzheimer’s ; very little short-term memory, lots of anxieties. He is very pleasant, though some days hearing his life story for the 10000th time that day can be trying. Life is stressful for him. He was an RCMP officer for many years, used to being in control and taking control in an emergency. (If I drop a pan in the kitchen, he will quickly show up to see if I am all right, or do I need assistance.) Earlier this week, Joseph (not his real name) had to prepare for chest CT. That meant drinking lots of water on a specific schedule and waiting for his family to take him for his appointment. All of this is hard on a person with dementia. Every 5 minutes he needed to know why he had to drink water, when he was being picked up, who was picking him up, what if he didn’t drink enough water, do I need to take all my meds with me….His anxiety level was climbing, and I was falling behind in my other duties at work. Finally, I sat down with him, again, and answered all his questions, again, and said “Joseph, listen. Making sure you drink enough water is MY responsibility. Making sure you drink it on schedule is MY job. I am responsible for making sure you get to the hospital on time for your appointment. ”
“But the doctor always needs to see my meds…”
“I have talked with your doctor, with the hospital, with diagnostic imaging, with your son. I know how much water you need and when you need it. All you have to do is drink it when I bring it to you. Your son knows what time you have to be there. I have talked with him. You do not need your meds. I checked about that. The thing is, Joseph, I get paid for doing all those things so that you don’t have to worry about anything. Worrying about those things is what I do. You can relax. Everything is under control.”
“You’re sure you can handle it?”
“Yes, Joseph; I have everything under control. Just trust me.”
And you know? He actually did! For the rest of the day, he never brought up the matter once! He even told his son, when being picked up to go, not to worry, the boss has everything under control.
And then later that day, at home and going over the mental list of things I need to do, hope to fit in before my holidays, feeling just a wee bit anxious or stressed, I hear that still, small but authoritative voice reminding me:
” I’ve got this. Let it go. You are getting anxious over things that fall under My jurisdiction. Rest. I have everything under control. Just trust Me.”
So I did.