Alzheimer’s disease: a devastating form of dementia that no one should experience. Yet, even with the gloom that this disease brings, some glimmer of hope can still be seen and taken from. Of course, not to set unrealistic expectations on how one should tackle the disease (seeing Alzheimer’s through rose-colored glasses is never a good idea) but some healthy dose of positivity may help both the afflicted and caregiver get through the painful day.
An Opportunity to Learn
As a caregiver, you have the power to choose to be happy, even when seeing your loved one break down with Alzheimer’s. And the first step to happiness in this dire situation is by learning as much as possible about the disease. Set aside time to search online for data and resources about the disease, such as Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging. Take necessary measures with tools and policies to help cover expenses and care. Referring and learning more about long-term care insurance coverage is a good way to make sure you and your loved one’s expenses won’t go down the drain. Learn different perspectives and ways to approach the disease by reading caregiving blogs – take it from The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver, which was able to transform frustrating topics on dealing with dementia into motivational posts.
Also, make sure to check for local support. Find out if there are nearby groups to help you learn more about you and your loved one living with the disease. If possible, visit nursing homes or families with an afflicted member. Physically meeting experts and other caregivers will allow you to understand further how to deal with dementia.
The point is that learning will eventually lead to understanding. And the more you understand (even something as bleak as Alzheimer’s), happiness can then follow suit.
An Opportunity to Share
Alzheimer’s also offers the chance for you, as a caregiver, to express your inner thoughts and sentiments on living with a loved one diagnosed with the said disease. More than a cathartic action of dealing with the pain, your experiences can allow you also to help others in similar situations. Essentially, sharing how and what you feel allows others a peek into what you are going through, and may offer learning opportunities for everyone involved.
Let’s take a look at one powerful blog post written by John R. Smith for Deadspin’s Adequate Man column. Titled “How To Care For A Spouse With Early-Onset Alzheimer’s,” the entry showed firsthand the many perils caregivers face daily. As dark at it can be, Smith’s post sparked a conversation among readers, something that most typical self-care articles couldn’t accomplish. More people, especially those at wit’s end in need of essential information to prepare for dealing with Alzheimer’s, are in need of relevant resources such as Smith’s. With the entry, Smith was able to both express (and release) pent-up emotions and help readers searching for helpful tips.
Another good example of sharing as a learning tool is from a Destructoid community blog post. Nic Rowan’s “A Grandson’s struggle with Alzheimer’s and Dark Souls” revealed how the writer was able to connect a video game (Dark Souls) with his grandmother’s struggles with Alzheimer’s. By placing a parallel between the game and his grandmother’s dementia, Rowan was able to come to an understanding on how to deal with the pain brought upon by Alzheimer’s. Unconventional as it is, the post still resulted to more people being aware of dementia – powerful, since readers of this blog are from a younger generation who would need a bigger support group in case dementia befalls upon them or a loved one.
The same powerful benefits of sharing can also be seen in support groups. With caregivers able to meet with other like-minded individuals, a connection to both learn and bond is accomplished. And in effect, being able to speak words you wouldn’t normally say in public offers some form of much-deserved acceptance, peace, and happiness.
An Opportunity to Love
Alzheimer’s, no matter how life-shattering it is, also offers the chance to create moments to love and be loved. Think about it: you as a caregiver will most likely be by your loved one’s side majority of the time. Through understanding and being open with how you feel with the disease will you be able to see the best in you and your loved one’s situation.
Love that stems from learning and sharing isn’t of rose-colored glasses. It’s the kind of love that you know is messy and potentially hazardous, but you still decide to stick to it, for you know deep down inside that it matters. It’s this kind of optimism that will help you get through the darkest days of dementia.
So, is positivity possible in a situation such as Alzheimer’s? Yes, but it all boils down to you and getting through the chaos that comes with it. But it’s worth it – you wouldn’t have it any other way, by being the person someone you treasure can trust and rely on.
About the Author
Violet Swenson is the Online Content Director at LTC Global Agency. She has thrived in the insurance and retirement field for several years. Her career revolved around helping people plan and create tailor-fitted long term care plans for their golden years. She strongly believes that long-term care insurance should be part of every person’s financial plan for the years ahead – part of her personal advocacy is to inform people about what the long term care industry really covers, and to debunk myths surrounding it. Likewise, she puts what she has learned in her insurance career through insightful articles relating to long-term care, retirement, and finance.