Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ron Goes to Day Care, Carol Shares Her Feelings

If people saw and heard someone like Carol speak these words, they would have a much better understanding of Alzheimer's, and what Alzheimer's is like for someone sitting in the front row.

Alzheimer's Reading Room

Ron Goes to Day Care, Carol Shares Her Feelings
Our reader Carol wrote:
My husband, Ron, started adult day care one week ago. I told him that it was a program which is designed to help his brain activity (he knows he has dementia).

When I dropped him off for the first time, he looked frightened.

I spent the next four hours in tears, envisioning my husband hating the experience.

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Carole continued:

When I returned to pick him up, he was visiting with one of the other participants. The group was taking turns throwing a bean bag through holes in a board. Then it was Ron's turn to play the game. He went to the middle of the room, facing away from the bean bag board. The aide asked him to turn around, which he did, and then he threw his bean bags. The other participants cheered.

It broke my heart to realize that he was playing children's games and to realize how bad his dementia has progressed.

Ron has severe Alzheimer's. His score on the Mini Mental Exam is 5.

Ron, on the other hand, had a wonderful time. He told me that everyone was nice and he had fun. When we left, many of the others were saying, goodbye Ron!

Today he returned for the second time. Again, he had a great time.

I am the one who is having difficulty coming to grips with the situation. It was easier today. I felt sad, but didn't cry. I am grieving my loss, but know that the experience is good for him.

My response:

Carol, this might sound strange but I found your words to be fascinating and wonderful. Don't get me wrong, I know how you might be feeling.

Frankly, you did bring tears to my eyes and I did feel sad. But somehow, I also felt elated. I suppose it is the Alzheimer's caregiver connection.

It never stops amazing me how I can feel an entire array of emotions when I read stories like this one. Up and down the staircase. I end up feeling admiration and respect.

In my opinion it is stories like this one that raise awareness. That bring hope to the Alzheimer's community.

I do know this. If people saw and heard someone like Carol speak the words she wrote above, they would have a much better understanding of Alzheimer's, and what Alzheimer's is like for someone sitting in the front row.

There is no substitute for the love of an Alzheimer's caregiver.

What is your reaction to this story?

You might consider sharing this story with others in the Alzheimer's community or in support groups.


Original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room