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The fencerows of the Texas hill country are covered with puffy white fluff this time of year. The fluff grows on a vine called clematis drummondii, or old man’s beard. If you like it (and I do) you simply do nothing and it arrives. Every year I have a bit more, likely the result of doing nothing with such consistent diligence. When the wind blows, the fluffy white flower heads wave enthusiastically.

We have a lot of plants in Texas with drummondii as part of the name. They are named after Thomas Drummond, a Scottish botanist who made a botanical tour through Texas in the early 1830s. The plants have been here since way before Drummond “discovered” them, but for some reason his names stuck, rather then the names the native Americans or early European pioneers used.

Having a name for things is useful and validating. If you are a caregiver you experience things for which there are no good words. For example caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s or dementia needed the word “sundowning” to describe confusion and agitation that begins late in the day.

There are other words caregivers need: a word to describe that although you are depleted there is more to do, a word for the standard vague answers you use when someone casually asks how you are doing, a word to describe unwanted unsolicited advice from well meaning but unhelpful acquaintances, a word for the worry that you are not doing a good enough job taking care of this person, a word for fear of the karmic payback for all the ways you have failed to meet the highest standard.

Suggest other words that would be helpful to have in your life. If we brainstorm a bit, we might coin a few to make things just a tiny bit easier.

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