The following thoughts were written by my mom six months after the death of her sweetheart, my dad, at the end of a very long and tiring and lonely day—
You have always been drawn to working with older adults, and I am able to better understand the strong desire and passion you possess as you provide support to people who need you. I can SO relate to you, as a caregiver, and to the bewildered family members, particularly the spouses of those with Alzheimer’s disease you associate with in your work…
Even with the scanty knowledge I had and a little background in nursing and caring for my own father, I look back now on the whole experience with YOUR Dad and feel sometimes like it really couldn’t have happened to MY MEL. Sometimes those days and months of watching his decline seem almost surreal—a dream (or nightmare?). I’d ask myself ‘How could this be happening to my best friend, who had taken care of me when I felt vulnerable and weak, who had always been so intelligent and resourceful and known what to do and what to say in any situation???’
Unless someone has been intimately involved with every aspect of a person’s life for many, many years like I was, through every kind of situation imaginable, and loved that person regardless and despite everything, one cannot possibly understand what it’s like to lose that loved one to Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease mercilessly robs him of everything he has—his identity, his ability to communicate and connect with others, his thinking processes, his feelings of self-worth, his bodily functions, his dignity, his affections, and finally his life. It’s such a cruel and devastating disease—no one would wish it on his worst enemy!
Thank you for loving your clients unconditionally and showing them respect to the end. Bless you and all of those who devote your energies to those poor victims of this plague!
*The staff at Aspen would like to express our admiration and respect for the spouses and family members who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. You are special people and we love you!
~Tamara Nixon, BS, CHES