Vicki from Minnesota

When my late husband, Paul, became housebound, and I with him, it was challenging to find pleasurable activities we could share. His field of vision was limited by his dementia, he slept a lot and the mundane daily agenda was stultifying. One day I decided to make an event of the otherwise difficult showering routine. I told him that day, "We are having a 'spa day' today. His face lit up? "Really? Where?" I told him that was a surprise and led him into the shower. I'd had the bathtub removed and had the floor sloped toward the shower drain so that he could simply walk in and sit on the shower bench while I used the hand shower head.

"To begin with," I told him, "I bought a special loofa just for you!" He examined it suspiciously, but let me run it over his back and arms and legs without complaint. His eyes closed and a slight smile on his lips told me he liked it.

Next, I took Paul into the living room where I had set up a straight back chair with arms and a side table with an array of toiletries and grooming tools. "Take your seat, sir," I said. "Would you like a lemonade during your treatment?" Paul loved lemonade.

In the hour that followed I trimmed his hair, gave him a neck and scalp massage, cut and filed his toenails and fingernails, rubbed his feet and calves and hands with lotion, and reminisced with him about our dating days. Lots of laughs and lots of love went into the mix.

Our spa days continued for several years. And I miss them almost as much as I miss him. There are many dark memories from those housebound years, but whenever they rear their nasty heads, I call up those spa days times and find myself not only smiling but feeling pretty good about myself.

I hope this suggestion can help or inspire other caregivers. We need all we can get!

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