My mother lived with Alzheimer's disease for 10 years. In the beginning she was verbal but as time grew on she became less so. As a nurse I understood intellectually what was happening. As a daughter it was emotionally very difficult. One of the last time she said my name, it was also with my maiden name. I often think that as a family member, we lose our love ones twice, once to the disease and a second time when they die.
I worked at a long term facility where I trained the staff on how to care for people with dementia. When I joined the community outreach and parish nursing department of Griffin Hospital, I requested to take over the support group leader position. I went to the Alzheimer association training and run a monthly support group. As with all groups, it is always changing. last month there were 10 people! This is my passion, I have met some truly wonderful people and I am always available to them either by my office phone or e-mail.
In 2013, I received the excellence in caregiving award from the South Central Region of the Alzheimer's Association, it was very humbling and I am so appreciative of it.