It's the small things

I sometimes read posts on forums from people who feel that looking after someone with dementia is a thankless task because the person they are caring for doesn't recognise how much is being done for them.  In our case I know I do a lot that Ash doesn't notice but that is the name of the game in this house.  I wrote a couple of days ago how he now has 5 sets of identical clothes so that he doesn't have to make a decision on what to wear each day.  I also wrote about how I collect up dirty clothes and replace them with clean ones while he's in the bath.  If I just put the clothes in the wash he then has to find a clean set which creates a few moments of anxiety as he has to remember where his clothes are kept and a little effort on my part removes that stress.  I did it last night and watched this morning as he put the clean clothes on without noticing what I'd done and felt a wave of satisfaction.  He doesn't say 'thank you' as he doesn't realise what's happened but my thanks are the smiles which have mostly replaced the stress lines on his face, the fact that we can share a joke where once the humour had disappeared, the fact that he's looking forward to spending the day with the (so, so nearly) 5 year old when once he would have decided to stay at home.  Thanks don't always come in words but if they don't you need to be able to notice what you've achieved and recognise what a difference you've made.  Those then are your 'thank yous'.