Beth Needed Help with Her Husband
My husband had had the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease for about seven years before I started looking for help. I thought I could handle all of his changes myself. It finally became evident that not only did Tom need a male companion, I needed a regular break and some time to myself.
Beth Tried an Alzheimer’s Agency to Help
I first tried an agency that sent out a very nice man to be Tom’s “friend”. Being the suspicious person he is, Tom would not and could not warm up to “Bob”, even after four visits.
The last attempt at introducing him into our home ended up with Tom threatening to call the police if he didn’t leave.
I realized after discussion with Tom that:
- There was a personality conflict.
- He would not allow anyone to come into his life to “help” him. That is when I had to change my strategy.
Beth found Let’s Go.
On a recommendation from Tom’s doctor’s office, I called Henry. After a short meeting, I felt he could be just the right person for Tom. He understood that Tom is a proud and independent person who would be suspicious of a stranger’s motives for wanting to spend time with him.
Together we decided it would be best to introduce Henry as someone who needed help rather than offered help. Henry came to the house to ask Tom’s help in volunteering at a local Senior Center. Tom and I had been doing the work together and Henry was asking to work with an experienced volunteer to get him started.
Tom remained suspicious about why he was spending time with Henry for about six months. Henry knew just how to handle him by knowing when to help Tom and when to let him make his own decisions.
He knew what subjects to discuss with Tom so that they were always having a two-way conversation. He also knew when he was wearing out his welcome and it was time to leave.
In time, Tom was waiting at the door for Henry’s visits and never ready for those visits to end.
Henry is considered by Tom and me to be an extension of our family. Not only is he a true and devoted friend to Tom but also my friend and the only relief I get in a sometimes long week.
~ Beth, Tom’s Wife