Living with Dementia
I hope others will understand it's OK to hurt. I am so grateful to you all for the support you have given our family through the years.
The Alzheimer’s Society has been a great resource for our family on this journey through the disease with my Dad.
If you’re a hockey fan, you’ve probably heard my voice on the radio covering the Calgary Flames games over the past many years. This is not an easy story to tell so I hope you’ll bear with me. You see, my Mom was a very proud lady.
Because I lived in Calgary and my parents were living in New Brunswick, I didn’t see my Mom as often as I would have liked and therefore wasn’t aware of the signs at first. My Dad saw them, though. He noticed that she would start repeating stories that she had just told him or would have trouble remembering where she had left things. At first the signs were subtle. But gradually they became more noticeable, more out of character and more dangerous. She would forget to turn the stove off or would leave the bath water running.
Dad didn’t want to worry us kids so he kept most of this to himself. He knew how proud my Mom was and how she wished to maintain her dignity. He could not bear the thought of people seeing her deteriorate this way. And quite frankly, he didn’t know where to turn for help. So instead Mom and Dad struggled in silence.
As a first step towards acceptance of the changes in my husband [after his diagnosis] I made a phone call to the Alzheimer’s Society of Calgary to sign up for a course. After explaining my intent, and before anything else was said, the person on the other end of the phone asked, “How are you doing?” So unexpected, so sincere, so compassionate, so moving. We chatted for a long time.