And I miss her terribly, Alzheimer’s and all.
She transitioned in 2010 from her house of 44 years with her spouse of 55 years to an assisted living facility. It wasn’t easy on any of us.
Below are personal pieces of our journey that I don’t want to forget.
I pray they help you if you are traveling this path also, or know someone who is.
- Good things about Alzheimer’s – Really? Yes. Finding the silver lining.
- 5 life lessons they teach you – Lessons to learn from those who have the disease.
- Hospitals and Alzheimer’s – 5 tips for a smoother hospital stay.
- 5 ways to show compassion – You want to help? Start with these.
- Sympathy cards – 5 ways to really sympathize in a sympathy card.
- Your one small thing – Little ways you can help the family.
2. What I want others to know
- Make the visit! – Should you visit someone with Alzheimer’s, if they won’t even know who you are and won’t remember you came?
- Does today count? - Is now enough? If you can’t look back on it, and you can’t look forward to it, is it not important? What you do today counts, no matter the memory or lack thereof.
- She’s still my Supermom - Honoring her for those days by being good to her in these days.
- It’s about relationship – It’s about love.
- The day she died - What I saw.
- Mama’s advice – 10 things Mama wanted me to remember.
- Healed? – Not me, not yet.
3. Facility Life
- Assisted living – Sometimes I hate going there. Is that bad to say?
- So easy to love - Memorable moments with my new, memory-impaired, besties.
- Gatherings - Meeting with friends and family.
- Going back – What we saw when we went back.
- And going back again – Volunteering.
4. God and Alzheimer’s
- Love the least of these – God started it; we keep it going.
- Is this what freedom looks like? – Having Alzheimer’s looks like slavery to me. What is true freedom anyway?
- Enough change already! – I was crushed when Mama no longer recognized me. Looking for stability, I found it in the constant, unchanging One.
- No snatching - She’s slipping away. But I still see her in there from time to time.
- I am hungry – Learning to fast from my “normal” life is a battle.
- A surprise moment of bliss – Sometimes when you least expect it, God pulls out a surprise miracle moment just for you.
- Who do you think I am? – Those with Alzheimer’s may often mistake you for someone else. Who are you really?
- Hard things - Sometimes you have to make hard choices for other people. Make them. Then lay them all down at His feet.
- Be a tree – She’s now prone to wander. I need to be her tree (Psalm 1).
- In Paradise – She’s no longer homesick; just me.
5. Book reviews
- The 36-Hour Day – by Nancy Mace & Peter Rabins.
This is the go-to book about all things Alzheimer’s. Read it first.
- New Hope for People with Alzheimer’s and Their Caregivers – by Porter Shimer.
Lots of general guidelines that are helpful, but I especially benefited from this section: “10 Commandments of Effective Caregiving.”
- Learning to Speak Alzheimer’s – by Joanne Koenig Coste.
Learn how to treat your loved one with dignity. Many specific tips, including the 5 tenets of caregiving.
- Plan B – by Pete Wilson.
Does anybody ever include Alzheimer’s in their Plan A for life? This book isn’t about Alzheimer’s. But it’s about how to handle life when your original plans don’t work out.
- I’m Still Here – by John Zeisel.
Centers on how to stay relationally connected with the person living with Alzheimer’s. Excellent theories and practical suggestions.
6. My prayers
- A love deeper than Alzheimer’s – A prayer for Mama when Daddy died.
- Create open space – I need more margin. More room to breathe.
- A thief in the house? - I’ve made eye contact with the enemy.
- The one thing I need - I want to feel strong. I want this and that. But there’s one thing I need (Psalm 27).
- Praying through death – ...and life, as we wait.
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Feel free to share any tips or advice or stories that you have as well. I care.