Six Suggestions that Will Make the Job Easier
I cared for Mom and Dad for 15 years. They both had physical ailments, but the most challenging issues were mental; Mom had Alzheimer’s and Dad had vascular dementia. Control becomes an issue between caregiver and patient, and my biggest conflict with Dad, aside from when I took his car keys, was when I took control of the medications. (more…)
Communicating with an Alzheimer or dementia patient is one of the most frustrating parts of caring for them. Following are a few suggestions of things to say and not to say based on my own experience. Do you have other suggestions? (more…)
Rick Phelps was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010 at the age of 57. Last Sunday I featured his most recent video in which he communicated by showings messages he had written on cards. Today I’m going back to the first video he made on January 1, 2011. You can see how far the disease has progressed in almost three years, and how much easier it was for him to communicate then than it is now. (more…)
I am Dan Willaford
In Sunday’s post I mentioned a Facebook group called Memory People, a network of patients, caregivers, family members, and advocates who have been touched by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. One of my new friends is Linda Wilkins, and she is caring for her daddy Dan Willaford. She recently had a conversation with him about what was going on in his mind. Following is the heart-wrenching account of that conversation: (more…)
Rick Phelps was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010 at the age of 57. He started an Alzheimer’s and impairment support group called Memory People, a network of closed Facebook groups where patients, caregivers, family members and advocates can share stories and walk this journey together. The groups are closed, not for purposes of exclusivity, but so that anything shared is safe and private.
I almost began this post with I haven’t written much in the last week or so, but that’s not really accurate. I’ve written a lot: agendas for meetings; e-mails announcing meetings and encouraging people to attend; copy for flyers, posters and the church website; more e-mails answering questions. Our church is hosting an area-wide ladies’ conference in January, and our pastor asked me to coordinate the event. If I could re-wind to that moment when I said Sure, why not, I might think again before answering.
Seriously, I’m enjoying the experience, and the response from people who are willing to help has been amazing, but it’s also amazing how much time and focus is required. Something else that is amazing is how, in spite of no longer being directly involved with Alzheimer’s and being totally focused on something other than my writings about caring for those with the disease, I am still faced with Alzheimer’s again and again. (more…)
I received a letter from the Alzheimer’s Association this week. It was an acknowledgement of a gift made in honor of Mom by my sweet mother-in-law Betty. The timing was perfect since Monday was Mom’s birthday, and September is World Alzheimer’s Month. The back of the letter was devoted to an article titled “10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s disease.” An article in our local paper about Alzheimer’s Month listed several ways to observe the month, one of which was to speak up about the disease. I can’t speak with authority about causes, treatment, cure, research, numbers affected, or what’s on the horizon in relation to this insidious disease, but I can speak about my experience, so I’m devoting my next several posts to the warning signs. (more…)