1. Develop a binder and emergency plan for Sean. The binder will contain all important information regarding Sean’s care such as doctor’s numbers, medication list, etc. After completing my caregiver training through Easter Seals (to be an approved caregiver through the VA) I discovered this is an area where we are lacking. I know the information we need, but we do not have anything assembled in case I am not here either for Sean’s use or for whoever is looking after him.
2. Become diligent at using Sean’s schedule. After returning to the use of the white board we have added more detail to Sean’s schedule to help him throughout the day. Sean says it is easier when he knows what he needs to do and when. I am encouraging him to make changes when necessary and add new information. Eventually, I would like to see Sean writing out his schedule, but we can look at that later.
3. Incoporate a “morning meeting” into each day. Hopefully this will serve two purposes: to help Sean be more aware of what he has coming up each day, and help him learn to make notes throughout the day regarding things we need to discuss. Instead of hit-or-miss communication, we will have a set time to discuss important things when we can both give our full attention.
4. Eat supper together daily at the table. This will require a better effort on my part to actually prepare the evening meal, however, ordering pizza will count. We frequently eat in the living room, and at times Sean is finished before I have begun. Will also have to keep the table cleaned off, I suppose.
5. Walk the dog two times a day. I used to do this when he first came to us. Then after a winter of being stuck inside, I did not pick it back up. Sean has applied for a guide dog, and if he is accepted into the program, we will be bringing a new dog into the house. I would like to have a routine established with Chili where he (and I) gets more of the activity he loves to ease the transition. He is great with other dogs and desperately wants to be friends, so I don’t think he will be upset by having another dog in the house, rather with seeing the other dog leaving the house with more frequency than he does.
6. Do an activity for myself weekly. Lunch with a friend, an outing, anything that gets me away. I need an outlet and need to have conversations and connections of my own.
7. Put aside the anger, frustration, and sorrow that eat at me. If I want Sean to cope better, I need to become better at it myself.
Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts. It’s what you do with what you have left. ~Hubert Humphrey