President Abraham Lincoln spoke passionately of, “The last full measure of devotion” during his Gettysburg Address. His hope was that the thousands of Civil War casualties had not died in vain.
For over a decade I witnessed my dad being whittled down to a twig.
Looking back at everything my father had endured, I’ve developed a heartfelt empathy for all those living with dementia, as well as their caregivers.
There are times when simple measures can comfort family members who also undergo an amplitude of gloom from this devastating disease. For this reason, I’ve paid soul-stirring attention from day one, taking note how this crippling horror destroys not only those enduring these dementia related diseases by robbing them of their golden years, but the lives of their surrounding loved ones. Thus, I feel compelled to share what I have learned from my experiences in hope that I can help my fellow caregivers.
When I trace my five thousand plus days of caregiving for both my parents, (Mom dying of vascular dementia) I write about the techniques that helped relieve our greatest hardships. I found that there was no expeditious way to get through this; it was the most prolonged and painstaking road I ever marched.
Observing firsthand everything this diseases stole from my family, I can only try and make sure something fruitful will grow from this. I continue to receive multiple e-mails and phone calls thanking me for the articles I still write for the newspapers. A large percentage of the correspondences included the lament, “I wish I had read this while my husband was still alive.” Wives, fathers, brothers, sisters, grandmothers, I have heard this from them all.
Remember, knowledge is power. Former caregivers, please share helpful suggestions with your family members, neighbor or with anyone stumbling down that rugged road of caregiving.
Until the day I die, I will preach on the most effective tactics for helping anyone suffering from memory impairment: Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, traumatic brain injuries, cancer, and any patient who suffers short term memory loss. Please reach out and help your fellow caregivers!