COMPANION CARDS ARE FOR REAL
I’m always looking for cool stuff to share with the Caregiver community, especially caregivers of those with special needs, but before I can share I have to prepare, with research that often takes me down rabbit trails. For instance, I recently read an article about Caregivers who carry “companion cards” when they are out and about with their Alzheimer companions. The article suggested that they discreetly show the card to the sales clerk or to bystanders, letting them know “My companion is living with a form of dementia. Please show us patience today. Thank you for your support.”
Amazing. This struck a nerve because recently I was in a café and noticed an elderly man with a frustrated older woman, hair disheveled with a serious scowl on her face. She did not seem to fit with the man, who was so patient and kind. But eventually after watching for only a few moments, anyone could tell by the way he wiped her hair from her face, the crumbs from her mouth, and gracefully accepted her every grunt with a humble apology, that he was indeed her caregiver and he loved this woman very much.
So I decided to delve further into the world of companion cards, specifically for those diagnosed with autism. The results were numerous. In fact, one place referred to them as “carer cards,” and they established “affiliates” which allow cardholders to show their cards and get discounts at specific venues that have the carer card signage. Places like diners, movies, concerts, etc. What a kind gesture towards those with disabilities. To me, it says, this is a safe place, and we welcome you. Of course, that was in Australia, but maybe we could do that here in the states. Perhaps we already do, and if so, someone, please clue me in.
The other thing I stumbled upon was BeSafetheMovie.com which teaches police safety to those on the autism spectrum. On this site, people with Autism, Down Syndrome, Dementia, etc. can buy a pack of 5 cards for $10. But it didn’t make sense to me to reach for your identification card if you are stopped by a police officer, right?
So I looked further into reviews on the movie, and they do suggest that in cases involving the law, you might wear “safety jewelry” instead. Brilliant. I’d go further and suggest both cards and jewelry be used but at the appropriate times.
And, there are many places you can get the cards without going to Australia. One is in Florida – the Alzheimer’s Family Organization. You can print their “Pardon My Companion” cards for FREE, or you can make your own.
As for safety jewelry, I have seen some cool bracelets at hollyrod.org. I simply adore this family for what they do to bring awareness and compassion to families living with autism. Or you can do what I’m going to do and buy a bracelet for my sister and one for me from Amazon. These even make a thoughtful gift for Mother’s Day. 😉 Isn’t this lovely? And they are under $10!
So now that you know as much as I do about companion cards and awareness apparel, please tell me what do you think of them? Have you ever used or worn one? Would you or why not? Moreover, do you think it makes your loved one feel different or does it keep them safe? I’d like to know your thoughts whether you are touched by Autism or Alzheimers, Really,