Two experiences in the last couple of weeks have underscored the importance of the people who care for the caregivers.
I already wrote about my sister visiting and offering me a night out. That was amazingly thoughtful. What made an even bigger difference was that she spent significant time with J and got to see where she really is and how difficult it can be. Having my sister say, “It must be so frustrating” and “I don’t know how you do it” was a great tonic.
We also were fortunate to have a dear, old friend reenter the picture. I’m not sure why had drifted apart, but she recently contacted us and offered to bring lunch and spend the afternoon with J. The three of us had a lovely meal and then our friend hung out with J. She brought some adult coloring books and a large set of colored gel pens. J is not one for arts or crafts, and she was resistant at first. When I checked in on them later, they were chatting and J was happily coloring away.
Again, what made the difference is that a relative or friend had taken the initiative to spend time with J – not just to ask me how things are going.
So if you know someone with Alzheimer’s disease, give them the great gift of your presence. That also is a huge gift to his or her caregiver.