J:Welcome to our new website where time stands still and you can't reach "Good Friday" by phone. It's Easter weekend and our family is together to celebrate with our parents and deal with what life has handed us. Both of our parents have Alzheimer's disease. There are five kids in our family, but the care of our parents is handled by three of us. Our parents live with one sibling, and another sibling lives across the street. The third involved sibling lives out of state, but is involved and committed to helping in anyway possible. The other two siblings are uninvolved for different reasons.
K:We decided to start a blog to vent, but more than that to let others know that this disease does not take away the love, laughter and the spirit of those who possess it, nor those who care for them. But it is a challenge like no other. I am the sibling who lives out of state and I watch and listen daily as my two sisters navigate the life of my parents (age 76). They have lived in my sister's home now for 5 months. The day in day out story of what happens in the life is a "made for TV" sitcom or a very sad movie. We chose to laugh as we do that well. But more than that, we can't control this situation any more than the weather so hang on because our "wild storm" stories are fixin' to start.
J:Back to the title of today's, our first, blog: Calling Good Friday. Our dad is a Type A personality times 10. He was driven from age 15 to be a success. He had business sense and a desire to make money from a young age. He was very successful and spent his entire career building wealth and ensuring that he and our mom would want for nothing. He saved, invested and planned for a enjoyable and well-earned retirement. He didn't plan on Alzheimer's sideswiping his plans. He can't drive, can't read and can't communicate due to his inability to find the words he's searching for. But the one thing he hasn't lost is his drive. He's up everyday and looking for someone to call, something to do; a purpose. On Holy Thursday we told him that there was no daily mass (one of the few things they do on a daily basis). We told him he could go to church again on Good Friday. He wrote this down (as if following up on a lead), and immediately asked for the number for Good Friday. He was looking to close the deal. Does anyone have a number for Good Friday??
K:I'm a true believer in meeting people where they are--who cares.. I know who I am. Well it took a bottle of Morgan Chardonnay to meet my parents where they were on Holy Thursday. Not that I advocate self -medicating in stressful situations but there is nothing more fun then to imbibe with siblings and shake off the stress that is life with Alzheimers.
J:So what's our goal here? Why tell these stories? A couple reasons: One, we love to laugh and we think we are funny!Our parents' antics are never predictable but almost always entertaining. Who doesn't laugh when they find asparagus tucked under the bed covers or the checkbook in the frig? That's just funny. So we want to share these stories so we don't forget them. Another reason we're blogging: we hope to connect with other families who are dealing with this disease and hopefully share coping techniques that help us get through the difficult days of dementia. It is truly a one day at a time disease so we hope to walk through each day with you. Welcome to the Dementia Diaries.