Aging, and caring for loved ones, is serious business

By John Pierre | Sep 19, 2013

I know this is an uncomfortable subject, but it’s one that many may need knowledge of as life continues on its progress toward our aging reality.  The subject in question is Alzheimer's disease.

Not uncommon among our growing aging population, it is a near devastating reality that some of us may come in contact with it.  My sources tell me that Alzheimer's sufferers must be handled with patience and understanding by those family members who are involved.

A friend who is the caregiver for his wife bemoans the fact that all-too-frequently he gets annoyed with the patient.  Equally, other members of his family sometimes find it hard to be as understanding as they ideally should be.  It’s too bad that none has the patience of saints.

Caregivers are faced, daily, with the patient's sometimes real and sometimes perceived situations.  Some caregivers are professionally trained, while others are simply well meaning family members who, while loving and caring, often don't know how to care for the sufferers of the condition.

There are organizations that can be greatly helpful to the caregivers.   Some are of great value, support and information, while others are a little less than fully involved in anything other than obtaining donations.

Some caregivers are seasoned enough to detect the difference.  Some unfortunately are not.  My advice would be to contact either a Snohomish County agency or, for that matter, obtain some legitimacy information from a Washington State department.  I would suggest that one does not take on the caregiver task without some carefully vetted source of helpful information.

Presuming that many in our society do not have the resources to hire a trained, professional caregiver, I would like to provide a list of names of helpful organizations but... hark... what if I was wrong?  I wouldn't wish to be the cause of someone being advised by an unqualified and/or money hungry group that might be as equally unqualified as the novice caregiver.

My friend tells me that being a caregiver "ain't no picnic" and one should approach the task with the intent of being reasonably available 24 hours a day to attend to the patient's needs, concerns and mood swings.  Occasional participation by family members can be of great value in giving the caregiver a few hours of respite now and then.

Sometimes life is the pits... and then it gets worse.  My heart goes out to the afflicted and to the caregiver.  Good luck, my friend.

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