In this video series, we highlight caregivers Stephanie and Dolores. These women care for their husbands who have Alzheimer’s disease. Here’s a look at what an average day looks like from sun up to sun down!
Angie is a caregiver for her husband John, who is in the early middle stage of Alzheimer’s disease. While John is still able to do many things, such as shower, brush his teeth and get dressed, he needs physical assistance, direction and cues from Angie on how and when to do them. He spends time watching TV, counting money – and lately has been holding something invisible in his hands that he keeps handing to Angie! Angie works full time and helps make caregiving ends meet through the use of adult day care and family and friends. Here is a brief look into Angie and John’s morning routine.
Jim is a caregiver for his mom, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2011 – but she has been showing signs for more than 15 years. He handles all of her day to day care, including: organizing her medication, scheduling medical appointments and taking her to them, make sure she is comfortable with her newspaper every day, coordinating Meals on Wheels, coordinating two companions who sing and do art with her for one-two hours a week each, cleaning the apartment and handling anything else that comes up – such as helping her recover from surgery, adjusting the thermostat as needed, reminding her to call her sister on her sister’s birthday and disabling the stove when his mother was causing kitchen fires! He does all of this on his own while working as a consultant and teaching classes at Contra Costa College. His mom spends most of her day reading the newspaper and cutting out articles, watching TV and doing very basic chores. Here is a look into a day with Jim and his mom.
Today marks our last blog entry celebrating caregivers during National Caregivers Month. Jamie, whose dad died this June from Alzheimer’s calls on other caregivers to take action against Alzheimer’s. Remember to add a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
My family lives in the Clovis/Sanger area. My father Jim died from Alzheimer’s on June 29, 2012. He had been diagnosed three and a half years before his death. Alzheimer’s disease is extremely difficult to face. It changes people. It makes daily life hard. My mother Ann was his full-time caregiver. That is an impossible job. There were good times and bad times. Caregiving is one of the hardest jobs in the world.
I was able to survive this ordeal by educating myself. I turned to the Alzheimer’s Association. Knowledge was my strength. Through the information I received from the Alzheimer’s Association, I was able to share and educate my family. Stages of progression, personality changes, care and treatment, programs available. For three and a half years, I used the information from the Alzheimer’s Association on a daily basis. How to cope. How to help. How to deal with denial in friends and family members. Most importantly, during the final weeks of my dad’s life, I was able to comfort him. Why? Because of what I learned from the Alzheimer’s Association. From having my dog sit with my dad, to massaging my dad’s hands, to sharing photos, to listening to music… All of these calming mechanisms made the last few days more comfortable for me and for my dad. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Jamie survived caregiving by educating herself” »
We’ve heard from so many self-sacrificing caregivers during National Caregivers Month – here’s another story from Amanda, who was traveling the world when she got the news of her mom’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Remember to add a tribute to the caregiver in your life at www.alz.org/nadam.
Two years ago my mother Joan, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the young age of 60. There is no way to describe how it feels to watch your parent slowly decline and lose the ability to do the everyday things we take for granted and see the frustration and confusion in her eyes. My mother is such an amazing woman and has always taken care of my family and me. I never thought I would be caring for her in this way at the age of 31.
This disease has taken my life in a completely different direction than I had planned. When I learned of my mom’s diagnosis, I had been traveling around Australia for a year and had planned on continuing my travels to other countries – until I learned of this disease. Once I came back to Santa Cruz and spent more time with my Mom, I realized there was nowhere else in this world that I needed to be besides here, helping to care for her. I recently took six months off of work to be with my mom while my Dad works full time. Because this disease struck so early, he doesn’t have the luxury of being retired and being able to commit more time to caring for my Mom himself so I do what I can to help. I now work part-time in the mornings and then go to my parents every day to care for my mom until my Dad gets home from work. Continue reading “National Caregivers Month: Amanda moved back home to help care for Mom” »