The last month or so (I'm scared to check and see how long it's really been), Boo has been more confused, more easily upset and definitely needier emotionally. As much as I love him and want to meet his needs, sometimes I need a break. You know, to take a bath, to make dinner, to sit in silence, to just be. Even when I can convince Boo that I need a little time, he's still uneasy.
A few days ago when discussing my need to take a bath again, Boo announced that if he could just hear my voice it would help. Ahh...maybe cloning myself...except I don't think the world is really ready for two of me! Then, it occurred to me that a recording of my voice might be helpful. Actually, I was ready to try anything at that point.
We discussed what Boo might like on a CD and he had some definite opinions. He wanted some poems, some Scripture, a few Chicken Soup type stories, the prayers we're concentrating on this month, music and some jokes. Mostly, he wanted the simple routine things that make up his day. That was doable.
For the next couple of days I recorded bits and pieces of our day. It was pretty simple and not intrusive as I'd imagined. Then I chose a few songs and excerpts of two pieces of classical music that Boo likes. Using very basic software provided with my computer, I prepared a CD for Boo. The volume is iffy in several places and there are awkward pauses at times. Still, it's start.
Day before yesterday and yesterday, I was actually able to get a few things done on my own. Boo was not only content to listen to his CD, he really looked forward to it. I wish we'd thought of this sooner.
Here's what we finally included: our morning prayers that include the two prayers we're concentrating on this month, a saint story, poems from lunch with Boo reciting several of them, five songs that Boo likes, four Chicken Soup type stories, a decade of the rosary that we prayed together, two excerpts of classical music that he likes and a conversation we had that I didn't realize I'd recorded. I completely forgot a scripture reading and jokes. Still, it's just a homey, familiar CD and very useful.
Why didn't this occur to me earlier? Boo, like many with dementia, thrives on routine, consistency and repetition. Lots of repetition. I think with our next CD, I'll try including a couple of our friends too. Maybe a short conversation between Boo and friends would be comforting. Later, I'd like to include some grandchildren as well. This type of CD might also useful at the hospital to provide a familiar background and to drown out hospital noises.