Today begins a four part series on the difficulties of Alzheimer's and how to help those dealing with it, both patient and caregiver alike. I believe these might also be helpful for those dealing with dementia patients as well.
Please notice: I will not be approaching these as a professional on any level, but simply as someone who has seen it up close and who also has friends dealing with it. I will not be giving medical advice beyond what the doctors have told me and my family and friends. This is strictly practical information from those who have dealt with it firsthand, information that I hope will be a true service in helping and encouraging others. I also hope it will help us all to avoid saying and doing something hurtful, even with the best intentions.
My father developed dementia gradually over the last twelve years of his life. It was hard to watch a highly intelligent and competent man become as dependent as a child, and especially to see him forget who his wife of sixty-four years was, even as she patiently waited on him day after day. I have a close friend whose husband is now traveling down the road of Alzheimer's. I see the disease taking more of him every time I read one of her letters, and watch as she bravely faces the unknown every day. These two, and others I have known, are my inspirations, and the primary source of the things I will write in this series.
Please, if you are facing, or have faced, similar challenges yourself and have more to add, feel free to comment on the bottom of every article so that others can learn from you as well. It is better to put it on the article than on the Facebook link because it will eventually reach more people, especially as others discover it in the future from an internet search. As many problems as it might cause, one real benefit of the internet is reaching more people. Please help me do that.
Too many times I have stood frozen in my tracks, not knowing what to do and totally unable to think as something happened to someone close to my heart or simply standing nearby, and then wished for days afterward I had known how to act and what to do, mentally flailing myself for being so clueless. Let's see if we can help one another avoid that.
This is merely an introductory article. The remaining three articles will run the next three days.
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. (Rom 15:1).