Andy Warhol coined and played with the meaning of this phrase, “fifteen minutes of fame.”
My meaning is this, for caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s: start small, and evolve with the best stories you have about the person you care for.
Yes, tell the best stories about a person. That great vacation you took with the family; the vows renewal ceremony on the mountaintop in Colorado; the gardening award she won; the golf trophy he secured; the friends that came to your child’s wedding.
It sounds simple, and it is simple. It may not feel easy to do when there are potentially many reasons to feel overwhelmed, disappointed, exhausted on this path of care giving for a family member or friend with Alzheimer’s. Especially when you didn’t plan on becoming a caregiver. This small approach can bring life back to 1) you, and 2) those you care for.
Start with five minutes a day, one great story that brings you and him or her good belly laughter or a proud feeling about life. Then ten minutes. Then fifteen minutes of fame a day.
You can certainly decide to add more time that is spent with the best stories of life. But do start.
And there’s a third group that benefits from telling the best stories about a person’s life. When you record or print or post these stories to YouTube or Facebook or Twitter or Flickr or any of our many social media choices these days, everyone in the group around you-Hospice chaplains, best friends from childhood, son-in-laws, grandchildren, neighbors stopping by-wins. Assist those who assist you by giving them an ‘in’, an introduction, a ‘rolling out the red carpet’ moment by informing them what stories to tell that bring joy or poignancy or laughter, for at least fifteen minutes a day.
May your days be full of as many stellar moments of laughter and delight as you can pack in.
Tryn Rose Clark, author of Extraordinary Days: An Alzheimer’s Approach for the Caregiver’s Heart.