Candy Crowley, CNN chief political correspondent, once said about her mom, who had Alzheimer’s disease in 2012, “I want to tell you how much I miss my mother. I miss her most when I’m sitting across from her.”
Crowley, her siblings and numerous families have similar reactions and remorse when they realize that their aging loved ones are not remembering or are asking the same things repeatedly.
“Alzheimer’s creates a kind of friction that the family needs to be strong for,” she said, offering this advice: “You have to hold on to things and know what is true in life.”
Caregiving is one of the toughest times for family caregivers and their relationships. Alzheimer’s disease forces a family to adapt and thrive as parents turn into strangers. Because the loved one still looks the same, it is hard to accept the change. Rather than feeling dread and drawing away from one antoher, caregivers need to huddle, grieve, hold each other’s hands and talk gently to find solutions and ways to cope with the “new normal.”
As a life coach, I suggest a family powwow to air worries, fears and frustration. Saddened and distraught family members need skillful guidance and a proven sequential process. It is not a time to “wing it” and haphazardly connect to one another. Reach out to professionals like Pamela Ah Nee of the Alzheimer’s Association and Project Dana Caregiver Support Group. You are not alone on this road — even if it’s painful and filled with unknowns. It is possible to take pleasure in your aging loved ones and each other