It's easy to joke about being forgetful and losing our memories! The reality is that it can be scary caring for your family member who has a health condition associated with memory loss. It can be frightening and challenging for you and for others to understand. Somehow it just doesn't seem logical that one day the person knows you and knows your name and then the next day he or she doesn't.
Sometimes with music or art, the mind of the person you used to know returns for even a little while. When this happens, it is likely that you wish the "normal" experience would last.
The unpredictability of illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease and the way it advances quickly with one person and much more slowly in another, increases the uncertainties of your caregiving. It is not only the advancement of the illness that makes caring for your family member a challenge, it is also the behaviors that vary so much.
You may have a sibling or other family member who seems to be the favorite in keeping the calm- or that person may be you, placing more demands on you. Sometimes the "acting out" behaviors make it difficult to have your friends over; friends who may not understand. The parents of your friends may also not understand and may not want their child to have that experience. Often people's misunderstandings are out of ignorance rather than intentional prejudices.
The behavior of your friends and possibly even their family members is out of your control - it's just one of those things that you have to let go of; you know and understand from a perspective that is different from theirs.
When you are caregiving for someone with a loss of memory, you may have extra worries as you realize that the illness will progress and the need for more caregiving and time demands on you will increase. How is it possible to manage everything and still be successful in school?
As you have these concerns and questions, it is the perfect time to check in with your CYP Family Specialist at your school. A home visit by CYP staff can be helpful to explore resources in the community. There may also be assistance for you and your family at home. If your school schedule hasn't permitted time for you to check in with a CYP team member there, feel free to call the AACY office at 561.391.7401.
Thank you for all that you do to help your family. Always remember, YOU are a Treasure!