April 21, 2021
When I was 12 years old, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. On our next visit, I began to notice some slight changes, but nothing major. I remember my mother, grandmother and I having a conversation; grandma was telling my mothing what was happening. “I will be in the kitchen putting away the dishes, and all of a sudden I don’t know why I am holding a tea cup.” My mother began to ask more questions and her voice became louder. Grandma said, “Anita, I can hear you I just can’t remember things…” We all had a good laugh and went on with our normal activities.
As things progressed, my grandmother needed more care. My grandfather was her caregiver and did the best he could with the resources he had. He wanted to be her caregiver. He would not place her in a facility; so he hired two in-home health-aids. They helped to ease the stress and were able to essentially keep an eye on my grandmother throughout the day while my grandpa was at work.
If only my grandfather had the support of the Alzheimer’s Association. He would have been able to be educated on everything from the 10 warning signs, effective communication strategies, what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s in each stage and so much more. If he had the opportunity to join a caregiver’s support group, he would have had support from others that were experiencing things similar to what he was experiencing. He could have taken my grandmother to a social engagement event to have FUN together while they still could.
Today, Michigan residents can contact the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to receive information and support from master’s level care counselors. They can raise awareness and funds for much-needed research, and they can advocate for local, state, and federal legislation for Alzheimer’s and all other types of dementia.
Though programs and services are all offered virtually and by phone during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to keep everyone safe, the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter is here and ready to help, every step of the way.
Written by Sarah Lewan of the Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter