Until recently, there was an invisible population. I never noticed them before. Then a couple of years ago mom and dad began to show signs of dementia. I started to read about it and to discuss the issue with their doctor. All of a sudden I realized they had always been there. People with dementia had been living in our community all along. I just never noticed them.
This week I went to a lunch meeting at our clubhouse. My friend introduced me to her new next door neighbor, Nancy. Nancy had moved into our neighborhood in the past year but I had only seen her once before.
Nancy’s husband suffered from dementia. It got so bad she was afraid to leave him home alone so she stayed home with him all the time. That is why I never saw her. Within the last 2 months, Nancy placed her husband at the memory care unit if the same Assisted Living Facility that my father is in.
Since my dad is not in the same building as her husband, I had not run into her there. But we shared many of the same concerns. Nancy herself is in her late 80’s though so she is dealing with her own problems as well. Nancy and her husband just moved to this city a couple of years ago to be near their children. So she doesn’t know her way around the area any better than I do.
Since she is an older driver, Nancy is less sure of herself when driving places. (I will admit to being hesitant to go new places alone, but when the weather is nice and the traffic is light, I do take off to find places of interest.)
Also Nancy’s husband is not happy with being placed in an assisted living facility. He is angry and keeps asking to come home. Nancy knows she cannot care for him at home any longer. Not only is his Alzheimer’s progressing, but he has also fallen several times.
I told her I feel lucky as dad is happy with his living facility. He is becoming more accustomed to taking part in activities as well. It is difficult for all of us to make transitions. It is especially difficult for people with Alzheimer’s to make transitions.
I am sure Nancy and I will keep in touch now that we have met each other and we know our family members share some of the same issues.
Later when I got home I thought about how many of us are dealing with eldercare issues. We meet new friends and old and suddenly we realize that we have some things in common that we hadn’t thought about before.
I really feel like I get extra support through my blog and especially through the blogs that others are writing about Alzheimer’s disease and other health problems. We are all caregivers and we have much to learn from each other. I am truly thankful for all of the people who share their private lives and lessons with the rest of us.
It helps me to remember that I am not alone with my problems. It also helps me get ideas on how to deal with problems and to help support others that I meet in my community.