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Between the morning and evening pill boxes, the letters abbreviated and in Braille, I'm trying to keep my husband aware of the day. He keeps a pocket calendar on which he writes things he thinks are important. He keeps that and a wall calendar of kittens in his library, where he spends a great deal of time. Surrounded by thousands of books and vinyl records, including 45rpm singles from his teen years, he mostly sleeps sitting up, watches old movies and makes phone calls.


In the main hub of our home, the kitchen, I've always kept a commercial calendar on the refrigerator with the phone nearby. In the not-too-distant past, these calendars were invaluable, as I save them, almost like old journals. Our new system includes a gigantic, very stark calendar with the month and year in bold, large type. The days of the week include the number, the day written out in full; each day is a space of approximately 2 by 3 inches, leaving plenty of room to write down who is doing what. These are printed out on computer paper which I tape on one side; eight weeks takes up more than half of the refrigerator. For whatever reason, my husband looks at this multiple times per day. Everyone is supposed to write on it, although this doesn't always happen.


"You can control nothing. You can adapt, but you cannot control. Accept what's happening and know you're doing the best job that you think you can do. Stay current with what's new. Success depends on just getting through the day." Steve Hatch, from Helping You Help Your Loved One: Caring for Someone with Alzheimer's or Other Dementias in the Somerset County Area, a helpful pamphlet from the Caregiver Support Group.


My back-up system to the calendar is to leave a large simple note on the kitchen counter, even if I have told my sons and husband of a rare spontaneous visit or errand. (I'm beginning to think my sons have no ears.) Anyway, I leave the note where I know my husband will eventually make his breakfast. I write the time I'm leaving, where I'm going, and an estimate of when I'll return. I also write which of the sons is home, if help is needed.


Yesterday, I had no plans, which I was looking forward to, even went back to sleep until I received a phone call from my neighbor inviting me to a free lunch, as her friend cancelled last minute. I had 30 minutes to get ready and assume the identity of one Loretta Romano. Two of my three guys were still sleeping, so I left the following note:


11:30

MOM OUT TO LUNCH

WITH *EDITH AND THE HAPPY ROCKERS!

FREE LUNCH!! LOVE, M

*I know---good band name, but it's actually a seniors' group!

at The Olde Mill Inn...please save my coffee

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