Well, the very first thing I did was pray. I prayed for acceptance and direction. However, I had to do my part in accepting that my daddy will never be the same. So here we go God, I really need you. I went through the "why can't he be like he used to be", the hard worker that I knew growing up and into adult life. The man full of direct wisdom. A man who was an excellent provider to his wife and three daughters. A man that would always come to my rescue no matter what. A man who enjoyed me eating dinner with him, sitting with him on the porch, and enjoyed me talking with him for hours on end. I wanted my daddy back. However, before he left this earth in March of 2014 he was gone way before then.
I was looking at a man that was growing weaker every day. I was looking at a man that required a lot of patience with his day to day care. I was looking at a man that still knew me, however at times thought I was living in his area. I was looking at a man that was in and out of the hospital. I was looking at a man who at times his eyes were very glossy. I was looking at a stranger yet... it was my daddy.
Alzheimer can be a very devastating diagnosis for all involved, however, I believe it is more devastating for the care giver than the love one who is afflicted. The reason I state this is because they are in their own world. Whatever my father truly believed during that time, he really believed. He would have just eaten a full breakfast and 15 minutes later he would really believe that he did not have breakfast. So, my mother or sister would give him something light to eat. He would think that they were not feeding him.
I've identified that the first thing you need to do is to pray, call on God for strength, peace, patience, love, and understanding.
You want to be very educated about Alzheimer’s and dementia. You want to take the time to do your research and know the difference. A very good resource is the Alzheimer Association - http://www.alz.org/.
Allow yourself to accept help. This is really important. You want to know when it's time to call professionals to assist you with caring for your dear loved one. Accepting help it does not mean that you do NOT want to care for them, it means that you love them so much you want to make sure that they are getting the best professional care. It does not mean that you stop caring for them. It means that you are reaching out to get tools that enable you to care for them better. Also, tools that will allow you to do your job, so that you will not give out.
I suggest you join a support group in your community. If this is not an option, consider starting your own group there is so much power in support. It's so healthy when you can talk to someone "in your shoes", and it makes such a big difference.
Acceptance, Acceptance, and Acceptance!! I cannot state that enough. I am going to be honest it was hard for me. However, I had to accept that things had changed with my daddy. In order for me to help him, I had to accept that he needed me, and he would not be the same daddy that I knew.
Choose to be grateful!! YES, you can be grateful in the mist of this situation. Thank God for your loved one, thank God for the support that he has blessed you with, thank God for the healthcare providers. Thank God for the good times in the past that you have had with your loved ones. In spite of it all you can still have good times with them. Always know that it can always be worse. You have the power to choose to love your love one with a positive happy spirit while on this journey. Thank God for the strength and the wisdom he has granted you with. Thank God for everything!
Ask, ask, and ask away. Ask the healthcare providers as many questions as you choose. We as adult children have to be the responsible ones. The tides have turned, and we have to take care of our parents the way they took care of us.
Allow yourself to make mistakes along the way. Give yourself permission to cry. Give yourself private time to take it all in.
Tap into the overdrive of power that you have. I want you to realize that you will be okay, and that it will be fine. I want you to know that every day will not be a rainy day. You will have a lot of sunny days. It really depends on you. You have the power to love, adjust and be strong. Embrace the differences with God's grace and mercy. Surround yourself with positive loving people. Allow yourself time out and breaks. When you are rested you will be able to care for your loved one much better.
I am going to trust that this blog has helped. I welcome your comments and feedback. Please allow me to pray and help you, you are not alone. God is with you, and so am I.