Nov 13, 2008

Living Alzheimer's From the Front Row

I often use the term "living Alzheimer's from the front row".

This term describes caregivers and others that watch Alzheimer's develop 24/7. Once the disease strikes they get to witness the craziness of it all. On one hand, you have the person suffering from Alzheimer's; on the other hand, you have the person responsible for caring for that person. Unless you are an Alzheimer's caregiver it is almost impossible to either understand or comprehend what it is like living in the front row.


Until you sit in the front row you won't be able to comprehend what it is like living in the "front row" . In the early days of caring the caregiver deals with a disease that is not only impossible to understand; they live with a disease that turns their world upside down. Imagine a person you know all or most of your life and their behavior changes--suddenly--and for the worse. This person, your loved one, begins to act out behaviors with you that you have never seen or experienced before. You want to scream at them or worse, but you come to the realization that this only makes matters worse. You cannot reason with a person suffering from Alzheimer's. They believe what they say to be true and nothing can change it.

It is difficult to describe the range of emotions a caregiver might feel or experience in a single day. Imagine being happy and then sad, caring then angry, focused then frustrated, an almost endless stream of feelings and emotions that conflict. The caregiver lives an anxiety filled life day-after- day. The caregiver nevers knows when this craziness might come to an end. They do know this uncertain fate is heart wrenching.

Most people have difficulty dealing with change. The Alzheimer's caregiver deals with change on a daily basis. Never knowing for certain what is coming, but knowing fully it is coming. Informed caregivers try to get ahead of the curve so they can get prepared for these harsh, sometimes hard to comprehend changes. Knowing that your loved one is going to forget simple things like how to brush their teeth, how to take a shower, and even how to eat is not a pleasant thought. The actual experience and feeling of helplessness cannot be described.




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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an X Wall Street executive turned full time Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,310 articles with more than 285,100 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.




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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room