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You have come to a place of truth, support, and solutions to the distinctive issues and challenges faced by the spouses of Alzheimer patients. Please look on the left side of this page for all of the resources offered by this website. Then CLICK HERE for an introduction, information, and help on learning about, and coping with, Alzheimer's Disease.

 

 

SCROLL DOWN FOR JOAN'S UPDATED NOTICE

SCROLL DOWN FOR JOAN'S LATEST BLOG-ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE ALTERS MARRIED LOVE

 

 

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NOTICE - JULY 21, 2014 - Thank you to everyone for your support during this trying time. As I write this (anything can change at any time), Sid is stable and receiving Hospice services. There is no time frame, but I am now more prepared, or as prepared as one can be under these circumstances. I understand what is ahead, whether in 2 weeks or 6 months. For my own mental and emotional health, I am going to attempt to return to what passes as a "normal" routine in my life these days. That includes website work. I hope to have a new blog, as well as updated news and information within a day or two. Thank you again for your patience and understanding.

 

JOAN’S BLOG, JUNE 16, 2014 – ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE ALTERS MARRIED LOVE

Those of you who are just entering this Alzheimer Journey will most likely strenuously disagree with me. Many, but maybe not all, of you who have been traveling this road for a long time will sadly, resignedly agree with me.

When my husband and I first received the Alzheimer diagnosis, we clung to each other, promising that we would weather this storm together, that I would always take care of him, and that we would always love each other. We were strong. We had been through other difficulties in 36 years of marriage. We would get through this together. What we could not know then, 8 long years ago, was that Alzheimer’s Disease is a Category 5 Hurricane that rips through the life of the patient and caregiver, leaving destruction, devastation, and permanent life changes in its wake.

Today, I want to focus on what was to me, and may have been to you, the most surprising and sorrowful aspect of that destruction and change – married love. Alzheimer’s Disease alters married love. I did not want that to be true. I fought against it with every breath I took. But in the end, the truth is – Alzheimer’s Disease alters married love.

In the Relationship Breakdown and Repair section on the left side of this website, I explain that we married our spouses for particular reasons – “Let’s face it – we all married our spouses for particular REASONS. We didn’t just spin a wheel with names on it and choose one. We chose them for their special characteristics that we loved. In that person we chose as a life partner; maybe we saw strength, humor, intelligence, warmth, and kindness. Maybe you liked the rebel, the outsider, the wild one. It doesn’t matter. You had reasons for your choice.”

Unfortunately, as Alzheimer’s Disease advances, it takes with it the personality, cognition, understanding, reasoning, and memories of our spouse. When they no longer possess the special characteristics with which we fell in love, how can our feelings not change? Where there was once vital and exciting conversation with a peer, there is now minimal talking, little comprehension of ideas and discussion topics, and blank stares. Where there was once the enjoyment of shared activities, whether it was a Scrabble game, a day at the beach, a trip around the world, dancing, museum hopping, movie going, enjoying a live theatre presentation, there is now, due to his/her diminishing abilities, very little you can do together. Where there was once shared responsibilities of household duties ( finances, yard work, home maintenance, cooking, cleaning), everything now falls to you, the caregiver. Resentment and exhaustion on your part soon follow.

Passion and intimacy will eventually be replaced by the necessity for you to fulfill your spouses’ personal hygiene needs – showering, dressing, and toileting. It is a brutally honest fact – the desire for sexual intimacy quickly dissipates in the face of changing adult diapers and cleaning the accompanying mess off of walls and floors.

When all these changes occur, so does the married love you once shared. It cannot be otherwise. The person with whom you stayed in love for decades is no longer with you. He/she has been replaced by a special needs child. You will love that child and care for him/her, but there will no longer be romantic love. That was one of the most difficult aspects of this miserable disease’s consequences that has wrought Hell with my emotions.

I mourn the loss of that love and the loss of the man who was the recipient of that love every day that I breathe. Although I grieve deeply for both, I have finally come to accept that this loss is part of the price of Alzheimer’s Disease. This is a fact that no one but an Alzheimer Spouse can understand.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Joan's Blog - Alzheimer's Disease Alters Married Love

Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken

 

JOAN’S BLOG – MONDAY, JUNE 9, 2014 – JUNE IS ALZHEIMER’S AWARENESS MONTH – WHO CARES?

There are at least two blogs in my head waiting to be written about the emotions and grief spousal caregivers experience during all phases of caregiving, but as the first week in June came to a close, I realized that I had not acknowledged Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. For us, it is “preaching to the choir”, but it is well worth educating those who are not only ignorant about the disease, but sorely misinformed.

The Alzheimer’s Association’s website contains information on Alzheimer’s Disease, what you can do to raise awareness, and which celebrities are lending their voices to the cause. You can attend an event, raise awareness, and/or become an advocate. Each year, during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, I ask our members, those of you who are the warriors, the spousal caregivers, the “other” victims of Alzheimer’s Disease, to do something, even if it is simply telling one person that Alzheimer’s Disease is fatal, to help raise awareness of this dreadful disease. In one of my previous blogs, I wrote my version of why I think we should care about raising awareness . You can read the entire blog, by clicking HERE, but the main point I made was this:

"If I can save ONE person from enduring the Hell on earth of misdiagnosis and misunderstanding by DOCTORS, caregivers, and families, then raising awareness is worth it. The longer the patient and caregiver live with misdiagnosed, undiagnosed, and misunderstood symptoms, the worse the quality of life is for both of them. With proper diagnosis, education, understanding, and the proper medications, although the outcome of the disease will be the same, there may be a longer period during which caregiver and patient can enjoy a better life. This is MY answer to who should care and why."

I am sorry to be a “one note wonder”, but as I am now in my 10th year of living with my husband’s Alzheimer’s Disease, I STILL feel the same as I did when I knew little or nothing about the disease – that everyone needs to know these four facts:

DISPELLING THE MYTHS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE – IT IS NOT JUST A GRANDPARENT’S DISEASE.

Everyone is at risk for Alzheimer’s Disease, not just the elderly, and it is not a simple memory problem.
Being aware of 4 simple facts about Alzheimer’s Disease can extend the quality of life for patients and caregivers. The Alzheimer Spouse website, www.thealzheimerspouse.com wants to raise awareness of the disease by dispelling the myths of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Physicians and the public need to know:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease is NOT normal aging. If the doctor dismisses concerns, a neurologist who specializes in Memory Disorders can be found in any area of the country by logging onto www.thealzheimerspouse.com and clicking the “Finding a Memory Disorders Clinic in Your Area”.  
  • Alzheimer’s Disease is NOT simple memory loss. It is a BRAIN DISEASE that destroys every part of the brain – behavior, personality, cognition, comprehension, physical abilities AND memory. It is 100% FATAL. There is NO CURE. There are NO SURVIVORS. YES, YOU DIE FROM ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease is NOT EXCLUSIVE TO THE ELDERLY. Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease affects men and women UNDER the age of 65, and many in their 40’s and 50’s. It is misdiagnosed as everything from depression, stress, early menopause in women to Attention Deficit Disorder.  If you think your loved one has possible dementia, regardless of age, contact a Memory Disorders Specialist for comprehensive testing.  
  • Aricept and Namenda can help with the symptoms and stabilize the person with Alzheimer’s Disease, for possibly up to 2 years, but they CANNOT CURE IT. THEY CANNOT STOP IT.

As I do every year, I ask that in addition to whatever else you chose to do to raise awareness, please print a copy of these four facts (click here for a version to copy, paste to a document, and print), and distribute them to anyone in your path. Leave them on bulletin boards in grocery stores; leave them on tables in doctors’ waiting rooms; GIVE THEM to doctors; pass them out in church; leave them on tables in airports.

On a personal note, I am tired of watching Alzheimer’s Disease destroy the man my husband used to be; I am tired of fighting to keep my husband’s Alzheimer’s Disease from destroying me; I am tired of listening to “experts” tell the public that they can PREVENT Alzheimer’s Disease by eating healthy, exercising brain and body, and being social; I am tired of hearing people say that this or that celebrity who has been diagnosed will “beat the disease”. I do not expect to see a cure in my lifetime, but I would like to see a more informed public, including health professionals. Only we can make that happen by speaking up loudly, clearly, and often.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Joan's Blog - Alzheimer's Awareness Month - Who Cares?

©Copyright 2014
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014 All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken.

 

JOAN’S BLOG – MONDAY, JUNE 2, 2014 – FOR YOUR SPOUSES WITH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE – A RESOURCE OF THEIR OWN


“Build it and they will come”. That famous quote is from the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, in which Kevin Costner’s character, Ray, builds a baseball field in the middle of an Iowa cornfield, and “the people came”.

It is what I did in 2007 when I felt a need for a resource specifically for spouses of Alzheimer patients. I built it, and you came. Since that time, this site has helped thousands of spouses from all over the world cope with the “unique issues” that face spouses of Alzheimer patients.

Well, now it is time for your spouses, those Alzheimer patients, to have a place of their own. I am very excited about this new website – Dementia Mentors. It was designed and is run by people living with dementia. It is a place where PWD (people with dementia) can receive information, support, and activities, not by professionals who think they know what it is to live with dementia, but by people who DO KNOW – those with dementia themselves.

Because the site was designed by people living with dementia, it is “dementia friendly”, in that the information is short, clear, concise, and has an AUDIO option for those who have difficulty reading.

For those of you whose spouses are in early to mid stages, and are able to benefit from Dementia Mentors, I urge you to read through it and introduce them to it.

I feel so strongly about PWD being as active in their own dementia involvement, understanding, activities, and peer group as possible because of the benefits I saw in my own husband when he was able to participate in such activities.

From the beginning, I have advocated for and discussed the importance of peer social interaction for people with dementia. As many of my long time members know, Sid and I joined an early stage support group soon after diagnosis, and the members of that group became our social circle. Sid was able to participate in supervised day trips, live theater, movie, and restaurant outings with his peers - men ( in our group, it just happened that the men were the ones with the dementia) who were on his level; men who understood how he felt about the struggles and frustrations he was experiencing; men who did not chastise each other for repeating the same stories and information ( because none of them could remember them); men who did not rush him or become impatient with him, because they were just as slow as he was.

He felt empowered, important, and proud when he was able to participate in a panel discussion about marriage and Alzheimer’s Disease with me at an Alzheimer’s conference two years in a row. He was ecstatic when he identified with everything Dr. Richard Taylor, a psychologist living with Alzheimer’s Disease ( one of the founders of Dementia Mentors), spoke about at a conference we attended.

Just as you have told me when reading my many blogs, that you do not feel so alone when you know that I am struggling with the same emotions as you, so did Sid not feel so alone when he was able to commiserate with his peers.

I do understand that for a variety of reasons -behavior, stubbornness, and denial, being but a few, some of your spouses will be resistant to even looking at the website. But for those of you whose spouses are willing, the resource is invaluable.

I have written to Gary LeBlanc to congratulate him on the launch of Dementia Mentors, and I hope you will help your spouses take advantage of this much needed new resource for those with dementia.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Joan's Blog -For your spouses with AD - A resource of their own

Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken.
 

 

JOAN’S BLOG – MONDAY, MAY 12, 2014 – ANGER


We Alzheimer Spouses have quite a bit to be angry about, and we have expressed the reasons for that anger articulately, here in the place we feel safe and secure to do so. We have discussed our anger in my blogs and on the message boards over what Alzheimer’s Disease has stolen from us – our spouses; lovers; savings; future plans for retirement; travel; friends and relatives who do not understand our plight; our mental, physical, and emotional health; to name but a few.

However, we do not often talk about our anger at what the disease has done to our husbands and wives who have it. Last week, as I watched my husband, confused and hurt, crying over his change in mealtime seating, I was engulfed in anger at what this disease has done to the man who was smart enough to run a business, oversee employees, fix, hook up, and manipulate any piece of electronic equipment as fast as it was invented; strong enough to fix any problem I got myself into; gentle enough to wipe away my tears and soothe my emotional hurts; and sexy enough to make my heart skip beats at the sight of him.

I wanted to jump up and down, scream as loud as I could, stamp my feet, ANYTHING, to express my outrage at what has become of him. His loss of memory of our life together is painful for me to endure, but it is a small part of the bigger picture that the outside world does not see.

They do not see or hear his confusion when he sometimes calls me at night, asking me where I am, when I am coming to visit, what the time is where I am. They do not see the blank look in his eyes as he stares at me. They do not see the aides dress him, shower him, put him to bed. They do not see the small, narrow, single bed in which he sleeps – alone – without me, the woman he still calls the best thing that ever happened to him. They do not see his inability to understand cause and effect, thus eliciting his outbursts at the staff, when something HE has done causes them to move him away from others. They do not see his sadness and tears at being separated from me. They do not hear him ask where the bathroom is every time I visit. They do hear him ask where his room is when I tell him that is where the bathroom is.

How could this happen to him? To anyone with this dreadful, hateful, disease? There are times when I go to visit him that I want to throw his walker against the wall, tear the sheets off of that pathetic little bed, scream and cry and yell that it is not fair that Alzheimer’s Disease stripped him of his cognition, memory, future.

Many years ago, a psychologist taught me that anger is a secondary emotion. It is what we express when we are unable to, do not want to, or do not know how, to express what is really bothering us. I do not feel that is the case in my situation. I know very well that my underlying emotion is deep, sorrowful sadness, but right now, I feel ANGER, and it is what I want to express. I am angry at Alzheimer’s Disease for destroying a man who was good, kind, and decent. Neither he nor anyone who is stricken by Alzheimer’s Disease deserves such a fate. Do any of you feel this anger?

MESSAGE BOARD: Joan's Blog - Anger


Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken. 

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE - APRIL 30, 2014

As I prepare to take a break to tend to some family business out of town (with faithful house sitters in place, enjoying our 90 degree weather and Florida sunshine), I want to update you on what is going on behind the scenes at The Alzheimer Spouse:

1.Thanks to you, The Alzheimer Spouse placed in the top 21, and is a finalist in the Best Blogs by Individuals category by SeniorHomes.com, who is sponsoring the contest. A panel of experts is rating the finalists, and I honestly do not know their criteria or what comes next. You can read more about the process, by clicking HERE. My sincere thanks to all who voted for me.

2. A huge thank you to all of you who were able to answer my request for donations to help this website continue to run for all who need it. A plea to those who wrote to express regret for being financially unable to help – As I personally wrote to all of you – I do not charge a membership fee precisely because I do not believe those who cannot afford the fee should be denied the emotional support and valuable information provided by the website. I do not ever want anyone to feel regret if they are unable to help financially. Members who are able to help are doing so in order that everyone can benefit. Thank you.

3. More blogs are in the works. Sid is experiencing another decline that has thrown me quite off kilter, and, as always, I will be sharing my honest thoughts and feelings with you related to this latest turn of events.

4.Some joyous news – Our message board monitor accompanied her husband to a business trip to Honolulu. They took a side trip to the big island of Hawaii to meet with our member “Coco”, who greeted them with kind hospitality and an insider’s knowledge of where to go and what to see – volcanoes included. When I return from my trip, I will post tales of their Hawaii adventure.

Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken.

JOAN’S BLOG – MONDAY, APRIL 21, 2014 – A NOMINATION FOR THE ALZHEIMER SPOUSE


Imagine my surprise when I opened my e-mail last week and read " The Alzheimer's Spouse had been nominated to the SeniorHomes.com Best Senior Living Awards 2014 in the Best Blogs by Individuals category. The Best Senior Living Awards 2014 highlights top resources, people, providers and organizations in a wide varity of caregiving and senior living categories. Your nominee page has been published at http://www.seniorhomes.com/d/alzheimers-spouse/2014-best-senior-living-awards/". (Click link to vote for The Alzheimer Spouse)

Coincidentally, before I received the e-mail, I had been thinking about the far reaching effects my website has had on Alzheimer Spouses nationwide and even worldwide. My reason for starting this website and writing my blogs was to find other spouses who shared my feelings of despair at the destruction by Alzheimer’s Disease of our marriages and decades long love affairs.

Since the launch of the website in 2007, countless members from every corner of the globe have given advice, solace, support, information, and encouragement to one another. You have given me support during my darkest hours. Many of you have become friends by phone, e-mail, and in person. You have met and traveled with each other. I have had the privilege of meeting and traveling with many of you in person.  

Before at home caregiving completely consumed my time and energy, I attended conferences and brought back valuable information to share with you; I was a three time advocate to the Washington DC Alzheimer’s Forum, where we lobbied for awareness and funding for the disease. My story has been told on CNN, NBC, and AOL.

But more importantly, I am most pleased that my actions have spurred on so many of you to become writers, speakers, and advocates for Alzheimer’s awareness. At one of the lectures I attended, I met a remarkable woman, Teena Cahill, who is a caregiver, author, public speaker, and inspiration to all who meet her. To paraphrase her motto – “The wider our net, the higher we bounce.”  Through my work on this website, I have come to understand how accurate that statement. The more people we meet and influence, and are influenced by us, the better we all become. Look no further than what you have accomplished with your friendships, advocacy, article writing, public speaking, and warm hearted support by being a part of the Alzheimer Spouse Website, to realize the validity of her statement.

I thank each and every one of you for helping make this website a success, and ask that you click the link above to cast your vote for The Alzheimer Spouse.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Joan's Blog - A Nomination for the Alzheimer Spouse

Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken.

JOAN’S BLOG – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2, 2014- IN OUR OWN WAY


In my last blog (see below), I discussed the issue of husbands and wives joining the world on their own timetable after placing their spouses in long term care facilities. We each handle this separation from our life partners in a different manner, and our re-emergence into the real world must be undertaken when we, not others, feel we are ready.

Part two of our transformation from full time Alzheimer spousal caregiver to a “single” person trying to live a new life must not only be done on our own timetable, but IN OUR OWN WAY. This applies to everyone on this journey, whether you are attempting to find activities away from caregiving, trying to forge a single life for yourself, while you live apart from your spouse, who may or may not even remember who you are, or are an Alzheimer widow/widower.

No matter how similar our Alzheimer journey, each and every one of us has different life circumstances, families, friends, non-friends, interests, abilities, and personalities. For this reason, we will each approach forging a new life differently. Although I thought I possessed more self-awareness than the average person, and thus, when I was ready, would be able to find friends and activities to easily fill my new life, I have been proven oh, so wrong. It is far more difficult for me to “rejoin the non-Alzheimer world” than I ever imagined.

Since the only interest I shared with many of the wives, now widows, from our Alzheimer support group was Alzheimer’s Disease, I am faced with finding a new set of friends with whom I share common interests. Since I do not live in an “over 55” active adult community, I do not have the choices of clubs to join that target every possible interest to which these communities cater, from travel, entertainment, cards, Mah Jong, investments, books, computers, crafts. If you can think of it, there is a club for it. However, if you do not live in one of those developments, you are excluded from being a part of any of it. (No, it is not financially possible for me to move to one of those places, so that is off of the table as an option)

I have received well meaning and appreciated suggestions as to how to rejoin the world and make friends from EVERYONE. What I have discovered, after listing all of the options from - join a Mah jong group, volunteer at an Alzheimer’s facility, start a face-to-face “spouses in facilities” support group, join my religious organization, find a knitting group to join, put an ad on Craigslist for people who share my interests, get a part time job, join a book club, check out the weekend festivals and go to one each week. is that, just as coming out of hibernation “on my own timetable”, I must forge a new life “in my own way”. In a way that works for ME, just as whatever you choose to do must work for YOU.

A friend of mine traveled the Alzheimer journey at a much faster rate than me. From diagnosis to the death of her husband was about 3 years. She has done everything completely opposite from me. While I stayed home, hibernated, rested, lost myself in computer games, and eventually re-emerged with a desire to join the world, she ran and ran and ran. From the time her husband died, 9 months ago, she has traveled thousands of miles to visit friends and relatives, had a variety of friends staying with her at her house, traveled back to her Northern roots, bought a house up there, traveled some more, took a cruise, and rarely stays in the house for more than showering and sleeping. She belongs to two bridge groups, a church group, and never stops going.

Her way is not my way, but it seems to be working for her. My way is not her way, but it is what is comfortable for me. I joined a gym so I would have someplace to go in the morning and be with people. Since in today’s world, most people go to the gym with earbuds stuck in their ears listening to music while they work out, it has not turned out to be a place of socialization for me, but it keeps me active.

I have given very careful thought to my own personality and interests, and know that I cannot run around trying to “join” groups, even if I could find ones that are not in closed communities. I must take it slow. One step at a time; one activity at a time. That is my way.

Yesterday, it occurred to me that for now, my best option to get involved in a cause that interests me, meet and talk to interesting people, and perhaps make a difference in my corner of the world, is to join the campaign of my local congressman. I have met him, spoken at one of his events, and thoroughly believe in him, so I think this will be a good fit for me.

Re-inventing one’s life as a single person after having lived as a “couple” for so many decades is emotionally painful and difficult, but it must be done in your OWN way, on your OWN timetable. You can take the suggestions of others, but deep soul searching is needed in order to find what fits you and you alone.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Joan's Blog - In our own way


Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from which it was taken.

 

JOAN’S BLOG – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12, 2014 – ON OUR OWN TIMETABLE


My message today is that whatever phase you are dealing with in your spouse’s Alzheimer’s Disease– adjusting to the diagnosis, coping with personality change, learning to relate to the disease, rather than the person your spouse used to be, adjusting to living alone after long term care placement or death – whatever it is, it has to be done on your own timetable. No one can tell you – “time to accept it and get on with your life”. We all respond to and cope with similar situations in vastly different ways and times. I have learned that to allow oneself to be rushed through the process by others’ idea of time, is to deny yourself proper healing.

All one has to do is read through my blogs to realize how slowly I have adjusted to each change in my husband’s abilities. I am the ultimate slow learner when it relates to Alzheimer’s Disease and my marriage. I fought and screamed myself almost into a heart attack or stroke trying to hold onto the man my husband used to be and the loving marriage we used to have. It took about 5 years before I finally gave up and realized that Alzheimer’s Disease took both, and neither was coming back. I have seen others accept it in a matter of months; I have seen others never accept it. It is an individual time table.

My members are aware of how difficult Sid’s transition to a nursing home has been for me. After the first two months of crying and sleeping subsided, I continually felt the need to lie down and rest for most of the day. I did not want to go out socially, not that I had anywhere to go. I forced myself to meet once every week or two with a female friend for a visit, a lunch, or knitting. I went to physical therapy for my back three times a week, but basically I was content to lie curled up with a book, tv, or a tablet game at night and often during the day. I felt a desperate need for rest. I could not seem to get enough.

Then an incident occurred this weekend that made me realize how important it is to allow yourself the time you feel you need to adjust to each new Alzheimer situation. On Sunday morning, a friend called to ask me if I wanted to go to a live musical show with her that evening. Her husband just had back surgery, and was unable to go. Up until that moment, my reaction would have been to say no – that I did not feel like getting dressed up and going out at night; that I wanted to lie around in my comfortable sleep shirt and watch TV. But I suddenly felt like going. I thought – yes, that will be fun. I want to get out.

Later on, I rummaged through my closet to find something that would fit my now 60 pounds lighter body, and came up with a lovely blouse I had bought at least 15 years ago that I was never able to get over my head. Paired with newly bought slim fitting slacks, makeup, which I hadn’t worn in at least 2 years, and jewelry, the result was astonishing. It felt exhilarating to dress up and look rather good. My friend and I laughed and both agreed that “I clean up pretty good.”

The show was phenomenal, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It made me feel that I am ready to go out to more similar events.

I am totally convinced, and believe with all of my heart, that if I had been rushed into going out when I was not ready and did not want to, I would not have had such a good time.

Six years ago, my social worker tried to push me into responding to Sid as an Alzheimer patient, rather than a husband. I fought her every step of the way. As she tried to make me understand that he was no longer the husband I knew, and I had to change the way I spoke to him and related to him, I tried to make her understand that if I followed her instructions, I would lose the husband and marriage I had. Eventually, I came to realize that she was correct, and I did learn to respond to my husband differently. And I did lose who he and the marriage were. But I had to come to that acceptance in my own time.

Whether you are at the very beginning and in denial about the disease; are fighting as I did to relate to the spouse as you used to; are trying to adjust to placement – whatever your situation, you will get through it on your own time table. You will know when you are ready to accept each phase and change in your spouse, and no one can hurry you through it.

*Note: I would be remiss not to mention that my “timetable” does not apply if you are so depressed that you cannot get out of bed in the morning, have thoughts of suicide, and are unable to participate in any daily activities. In that case, you are most likely suffering from severe depression and should seek immediate medical attention.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Joan's Blog - On Our Own Timetable


Feedback to joan@thealzheimerspouse.com
©Copyright 2014Joan Gershman
The Alzheimer Spouse LLC
2014All Rights Reserved
Under penalty of copyright laws, this information cannot be copied or posted on any website, media, or print outlet, without referencing the author and website from

 

STARRECENT BLOGS:

The Alzheimer Stress Diet - How the stress of coping with my husband's AD destroyed my appetite - the one silver lining in the clouds - January 8, 2014

Returning to Life - How I am digging myself out of despair and trying to live a new life - February 11, 2014

Divert, Distract, De-Escalate - The importance of health care professionals being educated in handling Alzheimer behaviors - February 25, 2014

 

 

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The material included on this website contains general information intended as information only. This site is not intended to provide personal, professional, medical, or psychological advice, and should not be relied upon to govern behavior in any certain or particular circumstances. The opinions in the blogs are solely those of the owner of the website. The opinions on the message boards are not necessarily endorsed by the owner of this website, and are the opinions of those persons writing the messages. All material on this web site is for demonstration and informational purposes only.           

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Flowered Canvas Bag
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Chocolate Mug
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