By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
I was over on the Alzheimer's New Zealand Facebook page, and I noticed a link to a story I first read back in 2004 on the New York Times--Alzheimer's in the Living Room: How One Family Rallies to Cope.
At the time of my first reading, I thought this was a well written story. After this read, I would have to say this article by Jane Gross is really remarkable. Keep in mind I was a 'young' caregiver when I first read the article.
The article captures much of the real life trials, tribulations, emotions, and angst of a family dealing with Alzheimer's from the front row.
Here are a few snippets from the article.
"It's overwhelming, worse every day," Mrs. Dillon said recently, wincing from stomach pain and steadily losing weight. "I don't have any life. Whatever happened to the golden years? Both of us have been robbed of everything we worked for."
"It's a myth that Americans dump their relative in long-term care," said Dr. Peter V. Rabins, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and co-author of "The 36-Hour Day," a groundbreaking guidebook first published in 1981, when Alzheimer's was not yet a household word. "When you look at the numbers, that is simply not the case."
Take shower time, typically among the worst for Alzheimer's families, because the patient's sense that his privacy is being invaded, and his inability to perform simple tasks, can provoke extreme reactions. Mrs. Dillon, on the rare occasion she tries to bathe her husband, pleads with him to cooperate. He can no longer follow instructions, she said, but is aware enough to be embarrassed and frustrated.
The result can be explosive. And having seen her once-gentle husband raise a fist or a stick in her direction, Mrs. Dillon was shaken last week when, the police say, another Queens man with Alzheimer's killed his elderly wife, who had been his caregiver.
Mr. Dillon has lately gotten "lost" on the way to the toilet and used a wastebasket instead.
But Mrs. Dillon's good humor is fading. One day he will not know her. "Look after yourself; you can't take care of him if you don't take care of yourself." She hears this daily from well-meaning relatives and friends.If you have the time, I suggest you take the time to read the full article. To continue reading go here.
Original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room
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Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 1,690 articles with more than 70,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room