Friends don't forget friends dealing with Alzheimer's
By Angela Lunde April 19, 2011
Marty wrote recently, "I have hesitated to post or even begin a blog of my own because I feel guilty about how I feel about my role as caregiver ... I'm getting worn out doing all the thinking and cooking and other stuff necessary to run a household!"
And Phoebe wrote, "I have not posted comments before because I just do not have that sweet feeling that most of you feel."
I'm so glad to see that Marty and Phoebe found the courage to post on the blog and join this caring community we've created. Although Marty and Phoebe may have found some comfort in reading what others wrote, I hope each of them can find healing by reading (and re-reading) their own words.
By looking back on one's own writing, we can be empowered to face our demons and better understand our unique circumstances and ourselves. Feelings left untold live inside us and can make life seem very daunting. As we write, we uncover what we're feeling (guilt, anger, grief,) and those demons often lose their grip on us — making room for new truths.
A good example is Floyd, whose writing I believe likely supported him on his path toward emotional healing. Floyd was a caregiver for his wife with Alzheimer's. After her death, Floyd shared his thoughts with a local newspaper in hopes of sending a message to friends and relatives of persons with Alzheimer's. Here's an excerpt from Floyd's article titled: "Stay Involved Despite Disease".
"To friends or relatives to someone with Alzheimer's disease, please remain a friend. Do not allow your fears to make you stop being a part of our lives.
"If visiting is hard, educate yourself about dementia. There are wonderful resources for information to make the disease less scary.
"Do not obsess about what to say or talk about. Talk about the things you've always talked about.
"If you simply cannot see us or pick up the phone, send notes or cards. Let us know you are thinking of us as we journey through Alzheimer's disease.
"Realize our hurt when we are ignored by longtime friends and relatives.
"Above all, do not let Alzheimer's disease be how you define a person (or us as a couple). Realize our history and the meaningful experiences that have been shared through the years."
- "A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out." - Walter Winchell
April 19, 2011