Alzheimer's blog

As caregivers, support each other without judgment

By Angela Lunde May 1, 2013

Comments around my last posting on "pleasant dementia" varied considerably. Whether or nor what I wrote resonated with you, perhaps we all would agree that when you've met one person with Alzheimer's, you've met one person with Alzheimer's.

Similarly, when you've met one caregiver, you've met one caregiver. Each of us has our own lens through which we process our experiences, our situation and our life.

For those of you who are suffering, I know your suffering is real. I too have cried alongside a caregiver and witnessed the fear in persons living with Alzheimer's painfully aware that they're declining.

I've been in the company of persons in the late stages of a dementing illness and attended the funerals of many. In my own family, dementia profoundly changed the life and personality of a beloved relative; I witnessed his heart-wrenching journey and death in the prime of his life. I too have seen suffering and felt pain.

I choose to believe that on the other side of pain or suffering there is joy. I celebrate those who live with this disease in a place of contentment and even some moments of happiness. I rejoice with caregivers who have found a path toward acceptance, self-compassion and renewed meaning in their life.

My compassion flows for each of you who may be suffering and to those of you who feel unpleasant emotions nearly every day. It's not my intention to dismiss your experience or minimize the effects of those living with the disease.

We can't change or control the course of Alzheimer's, yet we can turn to one another as a source of empathy, understanding and wisdom. May we hold space for one another without judgment and trust that we're each doing the best we can.

In keeping with our gratitude focus for one more posting: Today I'm grateful for the birth of two new baby girls and their beautiful mother, Carla. I'm grateful for the family that lovingly surrounded a young father for the months leading up to his peaceful death a couple weeks ago. I'm grateful for the dirt under my fingernails, a sure sign that spring has arrived and a remainder of the impermanence that is life.

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May 01, 2013