Did you know in the United States at this very moment there are more than 15 million caregivers caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease? Every second of every day, Alzheimer’s disease plays a role in my life. At the age of eight I knew that my grandfather didn’t know who I was, at times I was his aunt or his sister. He couldn’t comprehend why I called him grandpa. As a late teen, my grandmother began showing signs that she was developing dementia, and her dementia has now progressed into Alzheimer’s. I never know what my day is going to be like. Some days are harder than others, I’ve learned I can live on less sleep than I’d ever imagined, and the harmful affects of stress. Every day is a constant battle to learn how to make things easier for myself and for her. Some days she may not want to take her medication, eat or use the rest room, and I’m constantly trying to find ways to “trick” her into using the toilet, take her meds or even eat. Many people ask why my family and I do this or how we do it, and frankly we do it because we love her, but if you were to ask us how? I honestly can’t answer that. We do the best we can.
I recently was invited to participate in an online conference with Dr. Amy D’APRIX (world-renowned aging and caregiving expert on Alzheimer’s disease) and Home Instead, the world’s leading provider of in-home care services for seniors to talk about Home Instead’s free, first-of-its-kind family training program for those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, called Alzheimer’s CARE. “This November, Home Instead Senior Care will offer more than 200 local Alzheimer’s CARE training sessions to family caregivers in all 50 states. The program encourages mental engagement to help relatives remain safely at home and in familiar surroundings as long as possible.” This program has already been so incredibly beneficial to my family and I. I’ve learned how to better manage my grandmother’s care when she’s combative and they also provide steps to help prevent her from getting combative. Alzheimer’s is not a day to day disease, it’s a minute by minute condition that is constantly changing and challenging. I’m sure many other caregivers will benefit from this training session just as I have. Please visit HelpForAlzheimersFamilies.com for more information.