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Posted: March 15, 2007

Spousal Caregiving

A Daughter's Testimony: Power of Positive Mental Attitude

Bill Andrew

On occasion, a reader will respond "from the heart" to the message or theme in one of my columns. That happened recently when Pat wrote to me regarding her personal reaction to the column Positive Mental Attitude Key to Caregiving Success. Here is Pat's story:

Dear Bill:

I really enjoy your articles and information about caregiving. I read with interest your piece about the power of positive spousal caregiving. My parents live in an apartment in a federally subsidized housing facility, right next to the city's senior center. My 82-year-old mother is in a late stage of Alzheimer's and my 83-year-old father lovingly cares for her. He is such an inspiration! She can do very little for herself, so he is totally in charge of her care and well-being.

My dad has been a very positive person all his life, but my respect and admiration for him grows stronger each day. Aside from the normal everyday tasks, he also takes Mom in her wheelchair to the mall almost every day for a fast-food lunch and people-watching. Every day, he takes her to accompany him while he plays pool with the "guys" in the pool room, and Mom has been called the "princess" or the "good luck charm" by the players.

Dad has always loved to sing, so once each week Dad sings to the lunch crowd at the Senior Center -- crooner songs -- accompanied by a wonderful 90-year-old piano player who plays every song by ear. Mom says very little these days, but she can amazingly sing many of the words to these songs, popular in her youth and when she and Dad were courting.

Dad never ever complains, as he considers taking care of Mom a great privilege. And, in fact, he takes his responsibilities in stride. He has had a difficult time lately trying to get her into the car, because her mobility is so impaired. She finds it difficult to make the step up into the car, due to the "hump" she has to get her leg and foot over. So Dad made a shallow wooden stepping stool that he keeps in the car -- problem solved! This is just one example of his ingenuity and problem-solving skills.

He cooks for Mom, he bathes her, tends to her personal hygiene, washes, cuts, and styles her hair, paints her fingernails, and prints her a note every single day on a yellow pad (now, it's doubtful that she notices it or can even read it, but nonetheless he never skips a day), with the day's date, their plans for the day, a loving thought, such as "Today we are going to have a happy day (or busy day, or a day at the doctor's office, or "this is a singing day," etc.)" He always signs the note, "Paul loves June very much" or something similar.

Dad takes great pride in dressing both of them in the same colors each day -- blue pants and white shirts, for example. He enjoys getting comments from people about how they always dress alike. He is so kind and patient with Mom, even when she is being contrary. She cannot express appreciation and those days are often difficult. They have been married for 62 years, and have had a most happy marriage and relationship as true partners in life. Even though Mom is no longer the partner that she once was and does not show emotion, at some level I know that she has to realize all Dad does for her and how much he loves her.

Dad epitomizes that positive mental attitude, and he is happier for it. I'm sure that Mom is as well, although we may never know for sure. But, I have no doubt that Dad will be escorted to the pearly gates with honor. He is a living angel!

Thank you again for your wonderful information provided on your website and for enabling me to highlight information about a man who epitomizes a positive mental attitude. Your article provided the opportunity for me to tell you about just one person; I'm sure there are numerous other examples. Thanks.

Pat F., Tallahassee, Florida

Now, wasn't that a wonderful testimony, by a daughter, to her father's love for her mother as they both travel this "long journey" called Alzheimer's disease? I think we should all reflect on this testimony and determine how it might apply in our respective lives. A positive mental attitude should be one of the key foundations for any spousal caregiver or elder-caregiver in general. Once again, check out the column Positive Mental Attitude Key to Caregiving Success for additional comment and ideas that may help you as they apparently helped Pat as she reconsidered her father's caregiving success

I was impressed by Pat's testimony -- were you?

If you have any comments or thoughts about the above, drop me a line at and I will share them with other readers in a future column.


"If ever two were one, then surely we.

If ever man were loved by wife, then thee."

Anne Bradstreet (1612-72)

Bill Andrew identifies himself as a former “nutritionally-empowered Alzheimer’s caregiver” who attributes the slow-down in progression of Alzheimer’s disease in his wife, Carol – and the growth of his own personal emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual capability and strength to provide quality 24/7 care for her in their own home – to the targeted nutritional supplements they both took on a daily basis. Carol went to her Heavenly reward on June 9, 2008 – Bill continues on to advocate for family caregivers. Contact Bill with your caregiving questions and comments via email at

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© 2007 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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