Today marks our last blog entry celebrating caregivers during National Caregivers Month. Jamie, whose dad died this June from Alzheimer’s calls on other caregivers to take action against Alzheimer’s. Remember to add a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
Jim lost his battle with Alzheimer’s in June
My family lives in the Clovis/Sanger area. My father Jim died from Alzheimer’s on June 29, 2012. He had been diagnosed three and a half years before his death. Alzheimer’s disease is extremely difficult to face. It changes people. It makes daily life hard. My mother Ann was his full-time caregiver. That is an impossible job. There were good times and bad times. Caregiving is one of the hardest jobs in the world.
I was able to survive this ordeal by educating myself. I turned to the Alzheimer’s Association. Knowledge was my strength. Through the information I received from the Alzheimer’s Association, I was able to share and educate my family. Stages of progression, personality changes, care and treatment, programs available. For three and a half years, I used the information from the Alzheimer’s Association on a daily basis. How to cope. How to help. How to deal with denial in friends and family members. Most importantly, during the final weeks of my dad’s life, I was able to comfort him. Why? Because of what I learned from the Alzheimer’s Association. From having my dog sit with my dad, to massaging my dad’s hands, to sharing photos, to listening to music… All of these calming mechanisms made the last few days more comfortable for me and for my dad. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Jamie survived caregiving by educating herself” »
We’ve heard from so many self-sacrificing caregivers during National Caregivers Month – here’s another story from Amanda, who was traveling the world when she got the news of her mom’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Remember to add a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
The Scholz Family
Two years ago my mother Joan, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the young age of 60. There is no way to describe how it feels to watch your parent slowly decline and lose the ability to do the everyday things we take for granted and see the frustration and confusion in her eyes. My mother is such an amazing woman and has always taken care of my family and me. I never thought I would be caring for her in this way at the age of 31.
This disease has taken my life in a completely different direction than I had planned. When I learned of my mom’s diagnosis, I had been traveling around Australia for a year and had planned on continuing my travels to other countries – until I learned of this disease. Once I came back to Santa Cruz and spent more time with my Mom, I realized there was nowhere else in this world that I needed to be besides here, helping to care for her. I recently took six months off of work to be with my mom while my Dad works full time. Because this disease struck so early, he doesn’t have the luxury of being retired and being able to commit more time to caring for my Mom himself so I do what I can to help. I now work part-time in the mornings and then go to my parents every day to care for my mom until my Dad gets home from work. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Amanda moved back home to help care for Mom” »
We are coming to the close of National Caregivers Month – and we have so many more wonderful caregiver stories to share with you! Today we share a message from Juan Antonio, who has given care to his mother for more than 10 years. He wrote his blog in Spanish, but below, we have a brief summary of the blog in English. Remember to add a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
Juan Antonio y su madre
Hola a todos, mi nombre es Juan Antonio Molina y soy el cuidador o caregiver de mi mamá desde hace mas de 10 años aquí en la ciudad y condado de San Francisco, California;
En el año 2001 (mas o menos a mediados) comencé a notar cambios en su memoria, no era la personalidad que yo conocía, se perdía durante horas, (decía que de compras) aunque yo no la miraba mi hermana la buscaba en casa y no la encontraba, hasta que yo venia de trabajar y salia a buscarla por las tiendas que yo sabia frecuentaba;
Ya casi a finales del año, en Diciembre la situación de confución se hacia mas notable; me pedía dinero adicional para la renta (pago en tres veces al realstate) decía que estaba sin nada; se acercaba la navidad y yo también creí que era por eso (yo había puesto el árbol de navidad desde el 1ro. del mismo mes, pero ella no había puesto nada de regalos (cosa que ella acostumbro siempre). Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: En Espanol” »
As many of our Alzheimer’s community is aware, caregiving is incredibly stressful – especially when giving care at home without little outside help. Today we have a blog by Sam, who struggled for years as a primary caregiver for his mother, who passed away with Alzheimer’s disease this past June. Remember to add a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
We first realized something was seriously wrong with our mom when she got lost going to my sister’s house. She had gotten off of the bus at the right stop, but could not remember which house my sister and her family lived in. She wasn’t usually very late, so my sister finally went outside to look for her. That’s when we realized she had been wandering in the neighborhood for a long time, perhaps two to three hours.
A few months later, she went out grocery shopping and went missing overnight. The police found her wandering miles away with no recollection of how she had gotten there. She was still carrying the chicken she bought from the store, but it had spoiled because she had kept it with her from the previous day. That was in 2005. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Sam struggled with feelings of resentment towards his mother with Alzheimer’s” »
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Today we’re celebrating Kat, a caregiver who lost her mother in August of this year. Remember to add a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
My mother passed away on Wednesday, August 24 in the arms of my 91-year-old father on their 65th wedding anniversary. She had been battling Alzheimer’s for many years, and when she was sent to hospice with little hope of survival, I raced down as quickly as I could to hold the hand that had caressed my forehead for so many years. August 16th, we all gathered around her bedside, including her great grandchildren. We told her stories of our lives with her. We played the song she had requested, Ave Maria.
I also read the words from, “Like My Mother Does” and reminded her of the days when I picked mustard flowers for her walking home from school. She always smiled that big beautiful smile, gave me a big huge and told me how beautiful they were. She would put them in a vase on our simple dining room table that was rich with laughter and good times. A little girl saw me one day and told me, “you are picking weeds for your mom!” I ran home crying and into her arms. I sobbed how sorry I was and that I didn’t know they were weeds, I thought they were pretty flowers. She smiled that beautiful knowing smile, ran her hand through my hair and said, “God created them and I think they are beautiful, especially because they are from you”. She picked up the mustard flowers that fell limply from my hands and placed them lovingly in a vase and put them on the dining room table. I saw some mustard flowers on the day she passed away… they will always be beautiful to me. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Kat’s mom leaves her with lessons of love that last a lifetime” »