We have served family and professional caregivers of Alzheimer’s and other dementias, for many years. With the support of our caregivers we have served, our board and the many organizations we have worked with over the years, we have now transitioned this site to be a continuous resource website for caregivers of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Our previous online retreats, podcasts and blogs remain housed here. It is our hope and desire that you will find this as a valuable part of your caregiving journey and share it with others. For more information on where you can find Melissa speaking or sharing mindfulness for caregivers, email her directly here.
MELISSA'S FAMILY STORY
I had an opportunity to visit my step-mother, Marcee Wallace, in 2014. My father and I sat briefly, holding her hands and with tears were amazed at her alertness just that day. At the end, she was no longer coherent in speech, unable to feed herself, and sleeping during the day, among many other things. However, my memory of her laughter and her protective friendship keeps her alive for me.
Taking one hand and softly speaking to her, he looked gently into her cloudy blue eyes and whispered to me, "she looks beautiful. She looks beautiful to me.”
This is the most tender memory I hold of my father just before we placed his wife into full time care for early on set Alzheimer’s Disease. A heart wrenching decision to finally let go of the notion that he can care for her well enough at home and to seek extra help was prompted by the realization that she no longer recognizes him, us, or anyone.
My father said to me, "if there is a heaven, surely there is a place for her there. To have had this disease on earth must mean something greater is waiting for her." I have to believe this, too. The theft of the later half of her life is unfathomable. I think until you have experienced it, it’s hard to comprehend how your loved one dies a little more each day. A part of her memory, personality and character disappeared little by little. Making the grief a daily ritual for my father.
"The amount of work performed by informal caregivers (loved ones/family) is astonishing. On average, they devote 19 hours a week to caregiving duties, the CMAJ editorial says, with one in 10 informal caregivers putting in more than 30 hours a week. " Dr. Brian Goldman
Every 3 seconds someone in the world develops Alzheimer’s Disease. Chances are you know someone who is grappling with this disease or is a caregiver of someone who is. Know that you are not alone. May these resources bring you hope and most importantly, serve in a caregiver's well-being journey.