When you suddenly find yourself caring for someone with dementia, there’s a tsunami-like realization that you are woefully ignorant and unprepared.
In the beginning, I expected my dad’s doctors to tell me how to deal with his weird behaviors and how to balance his safety with quality of life. Unfortunately, when it came to the day-to-day challenges of dementia, my dad’s doctors seemed to know less than I did.
Books and the internet are awesome, but, especially in the beginning, I needed answers now. I read a lot of books, but for those “oh-my-gosh-what-am-I-going-to-do?!!” moments (and there were many), I needed to talk to someone.
Fortunately, an astute and thoughtful cousin pointed me in the direction of a series of “dementia basics” classes at a local assisted living community. What a godsend! The classes were free, open to the public, and gave me a really good starting point.
Through those classes, I discovered that the people who work at assisted living communities are a goldmine of knowledge and encouragement. Even though my dad wasn’t going to be moving into their particular community, they generously shared their time and knowledge with me. I got quite a bit of free “counseling” from them.
It wasn’t until well into our journey that I realized the Alzheimer’s Association provides resources for all kinds of dementia, not just Alzheimer’s Disease. I wish I had known sooner, because they offer a multitude of online and live workshops as well as a telephone hotline.
Support groups are another wonderful resource I didn’t discover until well into the journey. Talking with people who understand what you’re going through is the such blessing! I learned something new and simply felt better after every meeting. The Alzheimer’s Association website or a local assisted living community can help you find a group.
Alzheimer’s Association website: alz.org
If you have suggestions about other resources you’ve found to be helpful, please share!