The Longest Day: For caregivers, every day is long; but it doesn’t have to be sad
Our next blog comes from Roger, whose wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at just 55 years old.
Caregivers can experience isolation. Caregivers can work countless hours trying to make someone else’s life better. Caregivers may forget to try to take a day off. Caregivers may rarely be thanked for their work.
But it doesn’t always have to be a sad story.
Some caregivers report that working through the adversity has made them into better people; perhaps more giving, more patient.
Almost daily we hear about new Alzheimer’s disease research. Encouragement is tempered. The “cure” will take a while – it’s still being developed.
My wife Jane was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s three years ago at the age of 55.
She has some long-term memory – almost no short-term memory. For her there is no yesterday and no tomorrow.
She also has no concept of what the future will actually be like. I think in her case, that’s a real blessing. Sad to think that her future is limited”¦
Our conversations are pretty limited and that can make it lonely at times for me.
If I had the disease, and she was the healthy one”¦I know she’d do whatever she could to take care of me. That gives me perspective and strength.
Caregiving. Nobody tells you what to do.
My caregiving manual would feature these topics:
- Continue to learn as much about the disease as you can.
- Be creative in devising strategies.
- Adapt as the disease changes.
- Live one day at a time
- Know that you are human and will get frustrated at times.
The disease does change. Change can be gradual and also abrupt.
When Jane was first diagnosed, I could still leave her at home. She was still functional in some areas. That seems like a long time ago”¦
I am responsible for doing everything.
In short, I have to always take care of her”¦no breaks, not ever. Just like taking care of a very young child.
Actually, I do get breaks. Like when I go to work weekdays, when Jane goes to Rosener House. Or if I hire an outside caregiver to work at our house.
Long days? Sure. But this is about helping someone who in our past life together helped me in very many ways.