Caregiving Zen

"Will you help us?" The question stunned me.

My folks never, ever asked for help. They've always been able to look after each other. They took good care of themselves and stayed active. So much so, they seemed invincible. 

Until they weren't.

Dad's initial diagnosis was "Mild Cognitive Impairment," which soon got upgraded to "dementia." Eventually and without fanfare, the label changed to Alzheimer's and life has not been the same since.

If you've been down this road, you know Alzheimer's is a whole lot uglier than the sweet, benign absentmindedness that well-meaning people imagine or joke about. Most of us walk around with no idea of what living with this disease means in practical terms. 

Until we live with it.

There is a palpable rawness, a sense on being one bad day away from disaster, that's difficult to describe to outsiders. The struggles are overwhelming and often, gut-wrenching.

But those moments of love and connection are every bit as powerful. It's like the experience busts your heart wide open and then it's up to you, what you do with it.

That's why I wanted to write about it. I know I'm not alone. I want to make sure you know you're not alone, either. 

* Pictured: His face, when trying to convince me to do what he wants. My face, when it's not working.

[I wrote most of this in response to a post on an Alzheimer’s and Dementia support forum. I thought it might be helpful to others.] Why place them? We placed because we could not keep him or us safe anymore. We placed because weeks on end of virtually no sleep

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