Those of you who read my posts on a regular basis know that I’m always up to something. My hectic lifestyle allows me to sample a smorgasbord of new experiences and gives me ample opportunity to make mistakes. I believe that mistakes are the most powerful teachers I’ve ever had.
At Alzheimer’s Support Group, the best advice I can give to people who are just beginning the dementia journey is to tell them what to avoid, or “not do.” I hope others can learn from the mistakes I made during my ten years of caregiving. Some of life’s greatest lessons are the result of mistakes, and it’s always better if we don’t have to make them ourselves.
An incident this week reinforced my belief that I am never too old to learn. First, I learned that it is a bad idea to decorate a food table with tea lights although it makes the petite sandwiches, fruit and vegetable laden table, lovely. I also learned that paper napkins are quite flammable and when someone reaches for food and dangles a paper napkin over a burning candle, fire happens.
This leads to another lesson: a lace tablecloth can catch fire quickly if a blazing napkin comes into contact with it. Before the tablecloth reaches the flash point, you need to knock the napkin off the table and onto the tile floor and stomp it. I learned that burning napkins totally disintegrate and leave only a few pieces of ash and a scorch mark on tile.
The only way to know if you pass the final exam for all the lessons you learn in life is whether you can brush the ashes off the floor and press onward. Did you know that Comet cleanser removes tell-tale yellow scorch marks from a tile floor? I didn’t know that, but someone else had already learned that lesson. We can’t always “erase” our mistakes with Comet, but we can’t let the fear of making them hold us back.