For Marya, the hard truth came crashing down on her the day her father plowed through his garage with his car.
Instead of braking and parking the vehicle, he hit the accelerator and ran straight through a wall. Her father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
“It definitely made me realize I couldn’t stay in my denial any longer,” said Kain.
For Barbara Sloop there wasn’t a single incident that gave her husband’s disease away. He became increasingly confused, repeated himself and forgot a lot.
After the diagnosis, she was at a loss for information and direction.
“You get this diagnosis and you hit a brick wall as a caregiver,” she said. “Where do I access more information? What am I looking at? What’s going to happen down the line?”
Many Alzheimer’s patients are being cared for by loved ones in their homes. More than 165,000 people provide $2.5 billion worth of unpaid care each year, which raises the concern for caregivers’ quality of life and health.
For Sloop, her journey as an Alzheimer's caregiver was one of constant learning. Every time her husband advanced deeper into the disease, exhibiting new symptoms and behaviors, Sloop researched and sought experts.
Near the end of her husband’s life, Sloop needed more help. She took three months visiting and vetting facilities before finding one. And when Dick died in 2007, Sloop had to learn how to live for herself again.
Sloop thinks of her own journey when she says families recently receiving diagnoses need more support and information. They need help preparing for the years of deterioration they’re about to see in their loved one. They need help understanding why someone they’ve known for years will begin to behave like a different person. Most of all, they need to know they’re not alone.
After her husband died, she helped start a support group targeting those families.
Bill Whitney knows he has been fortunate to have the finances, insurance, and the expertise of his daughter, who has decades of experience as a geriatric care manager, to allow his access to services.
“Instead of living with fear, I live with hope,” Bill Whitney said.
He talks while expressing hope that all others with dementia can soon have similar options.
If you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease and would like to speak with a facility for Assisted Living in Greensboro, NC, contact Spring Arbor.
Excerpts- The StatesMan Journal