What can make the difference in caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease?
When caregivers and those with Alzheimer’s are friends, they are watching out for each other. A friend does not miss an upset and can enter your world in a moment and hold your hand and lead you through any darkness into a smile. Love between friends is palpable. There is no loneliness in friendship. When you are with your friend and you are in your friendship, joy is available! Circumstances do not matter. A friend does not turn their back when you are in need. A friend has time. A friend listens closely to both verbal and non-verbal communication, knows what you like and what makes you laugh and uses that knowledge to lift your spirits. A friend delights in your presence, appreciates your every breath and tells you.
Am I suggesting that every relative, caregiver, social worker, and staff person in a home caring for someone with Alzheimer’s should be committed to the person with Alzheimer’s as a lifelong friend? Yes. This is an environment that can not fail to produce a joyful life for all. While this does not remove the medical condition, it cures the dis-ease. When every dollar spent on Alzheimer’s produces a smile on the face of a patient, family member, caregiver, or friend, then Alzheimer’s will be welcomed as a wellspring of joy. Let’s put the money where the joy is.
When someone looses the past, give them a present of love and joy. Do not rob their present with sadness, remorse, and pining for disappointments of plans for a future that never was and will never be. Share love NOW. There is no other time.
David Lazaroff is author of Live It Up! 10 Ways to Share Joy When Your Friend Has Alzheimer’s. David coaches family and friends of people with Alzheimer’s Disease in creating a fun and joyful life. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org