Those of us engaged in creating and building The Memory Kit knew that that there was a huge need for caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients to have support, stay connected and take care of their own health as well as social and emotional needs. We are constantly reminded―sometimes surprised―at caregivers’ reactions to our blogs and just how deep those need are.
A friend of mine who works for a large bank wrote a company-wide blog called Caring for Aging Parents: A Burden? and was himself struck by the immediate comments it generated from his co-workers.
In his blog, he wrote: With aging comes the inevitability of declining health and eventual death. My best friend confided in me that he was frightened about the prospect of being a caregiver and wanted to know about how I cared for my mother who had a terminal illness. … Here at the bank, there are many people who are living this reality every cay. Alzheimer’s, cancer, and ALS are just a few of the maladies affecting our parents or other loved ones.
Very quickly, more than two dozen bank employees posted comments―all of them thanking him for sharing his experience and thoughts, some of their detailing their own experiences and all of them recognizing a need for more ongoing conversation.
Some of the blogs are excerpted below.
I cared for my mother who had Alzheimer’s for five years and it was a privilege to be able to do this, but it was exhausting both physically and emotionally. I found a support group at a local church that was a life saver just to hear and understand that others were experiencing the same feelings. They also shared things that made their lives easier that I could apply to mind.
A support group is something we need just to vent or hear how others are handling this often daunting responsibility and see what resources are available to help us out. It is STILL an awesome blessing to have our parents around but my brother and I have been doing it all for so long, we are more than ready to call for reinforcement.
One of the bank employees in the HR department even suggested―and offered to pursue―the bank’s having “someone come and talk to us about how to move forward and properly prepare for these types of situations…”
The more this topic is out in the open the more opportunities caregivers and families find to share their experiences, their emotions and their solutions. We welcome feedback and comments along these lines.
Contributing authors: Amy Gray, Jeff Gray, John Gray, Susan Soper and Katherine Kennedy
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