The sun is shining brightly on this average January Saturday morning here in suburban New York. My morning chores are done. My mother has been bathed and fed and is resting comfortably. She's feeling well as is evident by her abundant and generous smiles. My old “man” Mickey [golden retriever]has actually gotten off the bed and out the door before noon. He has had his morning cookies and his ritual roll around the carpet in the den.
It's a good day because I have been invited to a friend's house for dinner this evening. Anytime I get to be out of the house and enjoying the company of dear friends is a welcome change from my usual 24/7 stay-at-home duties. Monotony is difficult. The day in and day out repetition of chores combined with looking at the same walls and furniture and colors takes it's toll on even the cheeriest of dispositions.
tools of the trade
Here is a "must have" list to make it possible to stay sane at home:
- a computer and an internet connection
- Tivo or some such DVR
The DVR may at first seem superfluous for someone who doesn't go out very much but that's not the case. Firstly, you can record extra TV shows and movies to watch when there's nothing on at the oddest hours when you have to stay awake to tend to an ailing patient. Secondly, you can pause a live TV show if you suddenly have to drop everything without warning. This saves quite a bit of frustration and allays resentment.
Netflix just because it is delightful to have rental movies delivered directly to your door.
The electronic book is a luxury that I have only recently discovered thanks to some dear friends. The beauty of it is that you can sample and buy books and periodicals and have them instantly downloaded to your device. Once again this gives you choices without having to leave home.
Having hobbies and interests is vital to keeping your mind and spirit intact as well as providing topics for conversations with your friends. I'm fortunate that I have always had a lot interests. Cooking, photography, writing, gardening and pottery are a few of the ones that take up a lot of my spare time. Putting your hands in the soil or the clay takes all your cares away for a while. I keep several flowering plants indoors so that I have color and cheer in the bleak winter months.
Although having friends is self-explanatory and necessary for everyone whether or not you stay at home, it is particularly priceless for the caregiver. Company and human interaction cannot be left out of your daily life. Having a support structure is indispensable and irreplaceable. Nurture and cherish your friendships. It is so enriching to keep in touch with your friends and also important for when you have time to leave the house.
Finally, remember that your situation is temporary. It may be for a week or a month or years but it is finite. Hold onto your dreams and aspirations. Work on fulfilling them. Make plans for your days or hours off and for the future. Use your time at home to your advantage.