No, I haven’t experienced Alzheimer’s as a family member. Yet I have had the privilege to work with these special people and in turn assist their family members as they deal with the heartbreak of Alzheimer’s.
Heartbreaking doesn’t begin to describe the roller coaster experience for many families. They lose the person twice – once mentally and once physically. There is an epic sadness. You hear it in the words of the family members:
- Why doesn’t Grandma remember me?
- Why can’t Mom remember I was just here?
- Dad keeps asking the same thing over and over. It is driving me crazy.
- My spouse doesn’t speak to me any more. Does he even know I’m here?
- Why the *#^% is this happening to them, to our family?
These are some of the statements I have heard from family members over the years. There is an expression of loss, of hurt, of the aching for who the person used to be.
What can we do?
Currently there is no cure for Alzheimer’s neither can it be prevented. Research is underway to end Alzheimer’s. The Alzheimer’s Association is calling us the public to action with this short video:
- Wear purple on September 21, 2012.
- If you are financially able, contribute to the Alzheimer’s Association or other groups working to end Alzheimer’s.
- Add an #endAlz button to your Facebook and/or Twitter profile photo for the month of September.
- Support the families dealing with the effects of this disease.
- Offer support to caregivers (especially family members providing care in the home). Visit them. Fill in for them for an hour so they can take a break.
- Continue to engage those dealing with this disease in living life as they are able.
Together we can end the heartbreak of Alzheimer’s. Share in the comments the action(s) taken!