Laura, her mom and sister
Thank you everyone for so many words of encouragement for our family caregivers! We continue honoring caregivers during National Caregivers Month with Laura’s story. She and her younger sister are living the lives of young 20-somethings, while trying to give their dad a break from caring full time for their mom. Remember, you can post a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
I officially found out about two years ago (November of 2010) that my mother had Alzheimer’s disease. She was 56. I was 24. Of course, by that point the changes were drastic enough that my suspicions were already quite high and, more than anything, I was relieved to have a solid explanation.
It was about 2-3 years prior, during my last year of college, that I had first started noticing that my mom seemed to be forgetting large chunks of our regular telephone conversations. She had always been deeply involved in my life, so the fact that she seemed to be disregarding the things I talked to her about was completely out of character for her. Being a worrier, my first horrified thought was that she was developing Alzheimer’s disease, but the friends I confided in were quick to assure me that she was too young and that there was a myriad different explanations for her minor memory lapses. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: At 26, Laura is too young for “Yomamma Care”” »
Molly and her dad
As we continue honoring Alzheimer’s Caregivers during National Caregivers Month, remember you can add your own tribute to a caregiver at www.alz.org/nadam. Today, we’re highlighting another young woman who is dealing with the Alzheimer’s diagnosis in a parent. Molly is only 29, but she has already experienced the tragic stresses of caregiving.
I have watched this disease develop in my dad for the past 6 years. It still amazes me to think about how much he has changed since his diagnosis. Every time I look at his innocent face and wandering eyes I am left speechless, wondering why this disease picked him. Since his diagnosis, I have been faced with an uphill battle. Every day he slips further away from knowing who I am, his little girl! Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Molly misses being Daddy’s little girl” »
Today marks the last of our National Caregivers Month blog series. I hope you’ve learned a lot and taken steps to seek support and help. A huge thanks to all of our amazing caregivers who go above and beyond to support our Alzheimer’s community!
I’m going to leave you today with a few words from Jaimee, an 18-year-old high school senior in Reno, Nevada who helps take care of her grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s disease:
Jaimee helps her grandma with breakfast
When I was 15-years-old, my maternal grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. My maternal grandmother has always been in my life as she took care of me. Growing up, I watched the afternoon soap operas with my grandma. Between these operas would be advertisements on medicine to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The understanding I had of Alzheimer’s disease was a loved one forgetting a name. However, a day in February 2009 changed everything I knew about this disease. Continue reading ““Teenager things” not always possible when a grandparent has Alz” »
In today’s National Caregiver Month blog, I have someone very special for you to meet. Zack is a 17-year-old high school senior whose mother has Alzheimer’s. As we continue our conversation about Alzheimer’s and kids/teens, I thought it would be important to make sure you heard directly from them about how they experience this disease:
The Strom family: Jane and Roger along with sons Erik, Zack and AJ
“For the past several years, I have witnessed the stages of Alzheimer’s disease as they go. My mother had gradually been displaying more and more signs of memory impairment—it could be expected in junior high that she might forget to pick me up for an appointment, or I’d need to give directions to places—and in 2009, at the end of my freshman year of high school, she was diagnosed with the disease. Gradually, I have learned a good deal about the disease, through both casual research and firsthand observation. Continue reading “Teen discusses having a parent with Alzheimer’s” »
During the last week of our National Caregivers Month campaign, we’ll be focusing on the needs of kids and teens. As adults, we struggle to cope with the changes we see in loved ones with dementia. In our lives, we have dealt with sadness, loss, disappointment and anger. But what about children and teens who watch a parent slowly slip away from their relationship as mother/father? Or children and teens who start to experience their relationship with their grandparents change as Alzheimer’s advances?
Depending on the age of the “child” he/she may have difficulty understanding an illness that affects the brain. Children need to be told the truth, but of course adults need to take into consideration the developmental stage of their children, and share the truth in a way that makes sense to them. Sometimes too much information for a young child can just add to the confusion.
Obviously the older the child, the more they are capable of understanding what is happening medically. But just because they realize the medical what, it doesn’t mean that they will automatically comprehend the changes in their relationship with their parent or grandparent as the disease progresses. Our emotions are not always in synch with our knowledge! Continue reading “Explaining Alzheimer’s to kids and teens: Resources to help” »