Discovering Joy in Alzheimer’s

“Joy in Alzheimer’s!” you exclaim.  “How can you say that?”

Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease, both for the patient and the family.  However, I discovered, when caring for my mom and aunt, that there could be joy in this situation.  I couldn’t prevent their having the disease.  So I decided to enjoy and experience each “moment in time.”

Yes, there were frustrations, which we learned to handle with humor as much as possible.  But, looking back at those years of caregiving that I couldn’t change, I have fond and joyful memories.

Robert Leleux, in his NYTimes article, Finding Joy in Alzheimer’s, touches upon this aspect of his grandmother’s journey.  Reading the story made me realize again that I was priviledged to care for Mother and Auntie during this period of their lives.

When Siblings Can’t Help with Alzheimer’s Parents

Often it’s one child (if there are many in a family) who becomes the main caregiver of an Alzheimer’s parent.  For some reason, I’ve found this to be the case in so many families.  Sometimes the reasons are valid:

  • Live far away
  • Illness of their own
  • A job that’s demanding
  • Finances
  • Children to care for

However, hopefully they can find ways to help and support the main caregiver:

  • Financially
  • Positive input and encouragement, not argumentation
  • Spelling the caregiver for short and sometimes longer periods

Caregiving is a demanding task and those who aren’t actively involved too often don’t realize just what you have to do.

How have you and your siblings solved the family caregiver situation?