Last month we celebrated World Alzheimer’s Day– and so I wanted to take a minute to share with you all about this disease and how it affected my family.
Many of you know that my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s– it was a sad disease that took over her body and changed her into a stranger.
My family watched as this incredibly friendly, outgoing, social butterfly turned into a shy, frightened and sometimes angry old woman.
Her easy laugh was replaced by tears and her friendly smile was replaced by a look of confusion. She knew something wasn’t right in her brain- but became defensive and angry when she recognized that she couldn’t figure things out.
It was heartbreaking for our family to watch and to not be able to do anything. We tried to be patient, tried to not get frustrated that she asked the same question over and over and over again, and we tried to calm her fears by keeping things familiar for her.
Eventually, her disease was more than we could manage and we found a wonderful Memory Care Community where she could live and be cared for by skilled caregivers. She was safe, happy and surrounded by love. It wasn’t an easy decision, but one that we do not regret.
Let’s be honest, Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease.
It robs you of the person you were- and families struggle with how to deal with this loss.
It’s ok to feel frustrated, burdened, and sad- those feelings are completely normal- and expected.
What’s not ok is to take it all on yourself- no one can manage caring for someone with Alzheimer’s all alone and it’s ok to ask for help. Whether it’s from other family members, professional help, respite care or even just joining a support group- don’t try to face this alone. It’s too much for one person to bear- and you may find that getting help is the best decision you ever made.
There are many local resources available- one of my favorites is Aegis Senior Living. Not only do they have the nicest communities in the area- but their techniques for caring with people with Alzheimer’s are amazing.
From the Aegis Living website:
Licensed nurses & trained caregivers in dementia and age sensitivity
Motion sensors and emergency call buttons increase the safety of the apartments and enable emergency assistance if necessary
Daily scheduled activities that provide cognitive and physical stimulation to help soothe and relieve the effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia
Secured outside flowering gardens with circular walking paths, birdfeeders and some even have classic antique cars
Nutritional plans that include the necessary caloric intake and vitamin-rich diets to boost their immune systems
Graduated closet racks allow residents to dress themselves without confusion by removing each item of clothing in order
Resources, education and support for family members
If you, or a loved one, need Alzheimer’s care in the privacy of your own home, call Capability Homecare today. We have experienced caregivers who are trained in helping people with this disease. 425 679-5770.