Hi, my name is Jane and my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2015. For me, our journey has been up there with one of the big milestones, such as marriage or having a baby (though perhaps less desired).
My mother is the youngest of 15 and many of her siblings had Alzheimer's disease as well. I can only imagine the fear and worry that occupied her mind as she saw the changes in their lives. Therefore, it is totally understandable to me why anxiety is one of the biggest challenges for her. But with the help of her family, she is working through it by taking things as they come, or, as she would say, going with the flow.
I am from a family of eight children and 24 grandchildren so we have been able to keep family involved. We started with having a schedule for the grandchildren, then when Mom was more anxious and moods were challenging, we went to a children schedule so one of mom's children is there every evening. We now have Caregivers for night time to allow my dad sufficient rest. Our goal is to have this 24-hour care to be able to keep her home throughout the rest of her journey.
This may sound like it was easy but it was rather challenging. Challenges can help us grow and perhaps this journey with Alzheimer's is no different. It has been an experience to help us be less independent on personal desires and become more nurturing and empathetic to others, which may be more what life is all about anyway.
The Alzheimer Society has been very beneficial on our journey. At first it is not some place you want to go to as you want to deal with it in your own way. It seems that everything is busy and “Spare Time” needs to be used to clear the mind, not read more on Alzheimer's.
Our family has meetings with an Alzheimer Society First Link Coordinator on a regular basis where everyone gets together to be informed about where my mom is at and not be dwelling on stuff that will come. At these sessions we brainstorm together helpful tips of how to deal with the day-to-day things, strategies for activity and staying ahead of her anxiety. It is a great way to know that what we are doing is okay (and much less dry than just reading).
When I am tired of juggling and managing work, my own family and individual needs, it is hard to come up with a good big picture. It's great to have Beth there for us to help us all see the big picture together.
I keep the two initial rules that Beth shared with us handy - everyone must change-except for Mom and everyone will deal with it in their own way…and that’s ok.
Thanks Beth, for keeping us all together!