The holidays are fast approaching and I am doing holiday knitting. Every year I do some holiday knitting, but this year it is actually a LOT of holiday knitting.
My father-in-law has dementia and had gone from being an independent, pragmatic, man of great wisdom, intelligence and patience to one who cannot do anything for himself, who is confused by the simplest instruction, and who is unable to judge reality or express himself intelligibly. It is a very heartbreaking thing to watch a loved one disintegrate into something unrecognizable and to know that deep down, he is still who he always was, one of the kindest and most wonderful men I have ever know.
While the two paragraphs above seem to have little in common, there is a link. I promise! Read on.
When It became evident that my father-in-law could no longer live on his own, we set out to find a retirement residence for him where he could be well taken care of and happy. We visited at least a dozen residences, some grand, some disheartening. However, when we walked into the place where is currently is, the difference was palpable. The staff seemed to care, the people seemed well cared for and attended to. As he was deteriorating quickly, he moved in quickly and with in a few weeks, he had been moved to the secure floor. He is well taken care of, he is as happy as he can be and we know that if and when there is a problem, we will be notified and that the issue will be resolved. The staff are wonderful there. Not only do they ensure that the residents have what they need, but they deal with the residents with respect and compassion. I am very much impressed.
To that end, about a month and a half ago, I had the idea that I wanted to knit each staff member that cares for my father-in-law a scarf for Christmas. I had to get approval (individual gifts are usually not permitted for the staff) and away I went. A problem now arose. How do I define who cares for my father-in-law. Of course, the nurses and personal care workers care for him, but so do the staff who bring his food, who wash his clothes, who maintain things in his room and the building. What about the admin staff that often go above and beyond their duty and the kitchen staff that prepare his meals, and . . . . Well, I think you begin to see the problem. There are almost 50 staff members and most of them contribute to my father-in-law’s quality of life in some way. So, what is a girl to do. This girl is knitting. A lot. She has also corralled her 83 year old spry mother to help out. Many scarves have been made, and many are still to be made. I am not sure whether I (with my mother’s help) will fulfill my goal to make all the staff scarves (or cowls or shawlettes), but that is the goal.
During this process, I have designed many of the scarves, cowls and shawlettes that my mother and I are making. Some of these will be made available free of charge to anyone who wants them over the next couple of weeks. Follow the blog to make sure you don’t miss when patterns are posted!