“But you don’t rub milk under the nose of a hungry lion.” A phrase my husband Wes stated right before we went to bed.

A person with Alzheimer’s disease is very protective of their money. They will hide their money and forget where they put it. The one closest to them, the caregiver, is the one they accuse of stealing their money when they can’t find it. You have to keep one eye cocked open during the night so you can see where Mister A is hiding the loot, for he may get up two or three times in the night and re-hide the stash. This is what I went through in the beginning stages of my husband’s disease. I cried many a tear and many a sleepless night trying to keep up with the money.

One night I saw a big bulge down Wes’ pajama leg. I pulled up his pant leg and there was Wes’ two billfolds duck taped to his leg just above the ankle. I must say it had to have hurt when he took the tape off the next morning. He would hide them in the pillow case. My sister, Judy helped me find that one. When I run out of places to look, I would call my sister and she would give me suggestions of where to look. He would hide them in his socks, but that would bulge out too. I bought him some pajamas with pockets, but the tricky part was when Mister A got up in the night and re-hid his stash.

I finally convinced Wes that I could protect his stash from Mister A if he would let me keep his billfolds beside me on the nightstand. I would always give him his billfolds first thing in the morning. At night right before we go to bed, I tell Wes to give me his stash so I can protect it and he has for several months now, until last night, as he gave me his stash he said, “But you don’t rub milk under the nose of a hungry lion”___and he laughed and I laughed too. Then we went to bed.

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  1. Sandy Tribotti (age 73 and then some) says:

    Thank you for sharing the challenge. There are countless extremely difficult things about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s but there are a some very beautiful things as well, such as a shared laugh, a solution that actually works for a while, the gift of a sister who will share the challenge. When my mother had Alzheimer’s she seemed to forget all the times I had been a disappointment to her and proudly introduced me to others as her daughter. One of the other gifts of that seemingly impossible time is that she finally would let me care for her after 60+ years of insisting on taking care of me – whether I needed it or not.

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