For our second series of caregiver features, our theme is a “A Day in the Life of a Caregiver”. Our goal is to capture the life of a caregiver in one single day. Caregivers share what they do, think, and feel as they go through their daily lives. We hope you enjoy reading these articles and can resonate with the lives of these caregivers.
Nikki is from Brooklyn, New York and has been a full time caregiver for 11 years to her mother. She runs a lifestyle brand and blog, alogcabininbrooklyn, where she writes about her experience as a long-time caregiver.
A Day in Nikki’s Shoes
EARLY MORNING MEDIATION I start my morning at 4:30 AM – 5 AM with loads to do! First I tend to the boys, my dog, Nino, and cat, Tata, by changing their water and filling their bowls with food then I go to my mom’s room to take her for her first bathroom break for the morning. Once I put her back in bed, I play my morning meditation on the Peloton App, take a sip of my cinnamon water that I made for myself the night before and gently ease back to bed.
MY MINI MORNING ROUTINE:
6:30 AM Play LoFi Spotify playlist from bed and cast it over to my girl, Alexa on my Amazon Echo. As a single full-time caregiver, I love using apps and robots to help with managing my daily duties. I keep an Amazon Echo, a robot vacuum and smart lighting on heavy rotation in my home which makes caregiving that much more doable.
6:35 AM I put a hot washcloth to my face and my pores and eyes are wide open! From there I get into some primetime with Glossier’s primer moisturizer, a little bit of cloud paint and if in the mood, some Ruby Woo lipstick. I don’t need to do much for my hair since it is in a protective style so I just head back to my room, find some dope earrings from my line and change into something cute for the day.
Since caregiving and working from home for over 10 years I find that dressing up sparks the most joy and gives me the right amount of energy to get things done.
6:50 AM I grab my journal and head to my home office. Checking on things I have listed out to accomplish, I compare it with my online journal and gCal to prepare myself for a good day. I start Mom’s breakfast on super low on the stove and then go get my mom up so we can get into her morning routine.
HER MORNING ROUTINE:
7:00 AM I give Ma’dukes (my nickname for her since it always made her smile) a thorough wash-up and help her brush her teeth. Mom is in the last stages of Alzheimers, Stage 7 and is unable to do the everyday grooming practices.
7:15 AM Yup FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER…, can’t you just hear the Spongebob’s voice right here … from here I take my mom back to her room and begin to administer her meds, check her blood pressure and blood glucose. In addition to having Alzheimer’s, Mom also has high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I know what you’re thinking, that’s a lot and you are right, BUT with sticking to a plant based diet, regular reflexology massages, and daily stimulating activities, Mom has been doing excellent!
7:45-50 AM I change Mom out of her pajamas and into a cute outfit for the day. I do my best to make sure Ma’dukes is wearing something red since that is her favorite color. ❤️
I brush and fix moms hair to a chic top knot and spray her with some YSL perfume and get this oh so fancy lady out to the dining room for some breakfast!
8:00 AM Breakfast for champs time! I serve Ma’dukes a bowl of old fashioned rolled oats and cinnamon sweetened with coconut sugar (coconuts are really great for the memory). I also have her favorite fruit, a banana, for her. I do intermittent fasting so I happily slurp on a cold brew and cacao smoothie from Daily Harvest.
8:30 AM Music and Color Therapy for Ma’dukes while I get into the social media posting, email checking and content creating.
LAVISH LUNCH We have lunch by 1 PM which is the first time that I eat for the day so its almost a grand celebration at our house. I mean I usually kick it three course style with an appetizer, entrée, and dessert!
Appetizer: Split Pea Carrot soup
Entrée: Salmon pilaf
* For the Salmon pilaf I keep the onions and seasoning to a minimum cause Mom doesn’t like it and will usually pick them out if she finds it in her bowl.
Dessert: Key Lime Jello
TV TIME The afternoon is filled with spending time on the couch with my laptop and Ma’dukes watching a movie or tv series. Lately we have been binge watching Lie to Me which is so cool because the main character has to pay attention to people’s body language, something I have to do a lot of during this stage of Alzheimer’s.
SNEAKING PHOTOS I take the opportunity to catch up on any emails I missed early that morning and try to sneak and take pictures of mom with my iPhone and tripod. It is a bit trickier to get photos of her now since she rarely smiles so I just try to be mindful of her on this journey. I start to finish content for my weekly campaign for our brand, A LOG CABIN IN BROOKLYN, and once completed I go to get mom some water and a thin mint. I turn my tea kettle on to make some green tea.
At this point Mom looks like she is bored with the show so I grab her coloring book and pen and have her work on what will be another masterpiece to save and frame later. I have been working on our basement aka our cabin and have started saving a lot of Mom’s colorings to go on the wall #superexcitedaboutit.
We have dinner early at 4 PM and it is a light meal of what we had earlier for lunch then a snack around 6 PM.
6 PM – 6:30 PM I put my laptop and tripod back in my home office, let my dog out to relieve himself then once he’s finished, I lock all the doors and grab my disinfectant spray and rag to start wiping down the tables and door knobs.
I refresh the reed diffusers which have filled the house all day with scents of Citrus, Mango and Ocean Mist. Perfect scent for mom to feel happy nostalgic vibes of her home back in Trinidad.
*Scent plays a major factor in keeping Mom’s moods calm and happy.
6:45 PM I go to Mom’s room and have Alexa turn her lights on while I put out her pajamas, meds and smell goods (deodorant, lotion, body spray). I put on the TV in her room to YouTube and play her playlist of Joel Osteen and afterwards an oral recitation of healing scriptures.
7:00 – 7:50 PM I get Mom from the living room and bring her to the bathroom. I put on her favorite music, Old School R&B hits, and help her brush her teeth.
I turn the shower on, help Mom out of her clothes and grab her soap and washcloth. Mom likes to soap it up so I let her (she’s too cute about it ). I give Mom a thorough shower and then after I dry her off we head to her room. I give Mom her medication and start to dress her then grab her coconut cream and begin a reflexology massage on her arms, legs and feet. Ma’dukes seems to really like this part because I often find her smiling (❤️ her)!
I get Mom in bed and kick the rascals, Nino & Tata out, so she can rest with out any disturbances. I have Alexa turn off Mom’s bedroom light and the lavender plug in seems to add to the serene vibes as I close the door and leave her room.
8 PM I work on any project that was not completed earlier. My bedtime is at 10:45pm, yes I have a bedtime and I swear by it! I hustle hard to wrap up all my day work.
BEAUTY PARTY ♀️ At 9 PM, it is officially NIGHTTIME which means it is MY MOMENT to really indulge in some beauty rituals. Tonight I am getting the beauty party started with The Conscious Closet, an Audible by Elizabeth L. Cline.
I decide to do a charcoal balancing facial mask and to make some more tea. Once the mask is dried, I hit the shower and do a peach exfoliating body scrub. I do this at least 3 times a week and it always makes me feel So good and so refreshed!
One positive thing about my mom is that once she is asleep, she doesn’t wake up until the morning when I wake her or for her morning wanderings. Those conveniently happen at 3am .
10:15 PM In bed and I stop the audible to play my Deep Sleep Meditation on my Insight Timer app. My boys Nino and Tata jump in on their side of the bed and cozy up with me while Alexa turns the lights off in the bedroom.
Read last week’s caregiver feature about Torin, who has been a caregiver to her mother for 10 years.