When our family experienced simultaneous health crises for both of our parents, the Alzheimer’s Association was one of my key resources for information when time was both limited and critical.
Inspired to help others going through what I went through – and fortified with the valuable education I received from the Alzheimer’s Association, last year I informally organized a handful of neighborhood friends to join me to walk in memory of loved ones. It meant the world to me when I met other neighbors that shared a similar care-giving experience within their families.
Our Viridian Residents Association learned of our efforts and volunteered to support growing our participation this year by partnering with the North Central Texas Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Viridian is hosting a neighborhood specific walk Nov. 20th with formal sponsorship.
Viridian is also hosting a monthly positive care-giving education series for neighbors leading into the neighborhood walk on Nov. 20th. Featured topics will include: “The 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s;” “Understanding Alzheimer’s & Dementia;” and “Effective Communication.”
Neighbors may join the Viridian Walk to END Alzheimer’s and monthly education series by registering through the Viridian Residents Association website (viridiandfw.com/viridian-homeowners-association) or through links provided in the newsletter.
I want other neighbors to better understand the signs a loved one is struggling and understand what memory loss feels like so they can be more patient and understanding throughout their loved one’s journey. We’ve all heard the quote, “you may not remember what someone said, but you will always remember how they made you feel” This is especially true with Alzheimer’s or any memory disease.
A 2014 study by researchers at the University of Iowa published in Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology found the emotional lives for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients continue, even as memory fades. The report sites that caregivers’ actions really do matter, and that frequent visits, social interactions, exercise, music, dance, jokes and being able to enjoy favorite foods “can all have a lasting emotional impact on a patient’s quality of life and subjective well-being.”
By helping to provide resources to neighbors, I am hoping the accessibility to this education will make it possible for more families to get the understanding and support they need, better enabling them to provide the best care and most love for their family members.
You’ll never regret doing the right thing, and you’ll always regret not doing so. By providing access to this education, it will help families to know they did the right thing more easily while providing the benefit of building a community of support with other families.
I believe I am meant to find ways to help others find their way through the care-giving journey by sharing what I have learned. I plan to write a book and blog from the perspective of a family member navigating this path.
In the end, the best we can do is the best we know how. The more we learn, the better we can hope our outcome will be. There are so many blessings that can be encountered along this path.