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The only thing my nana knows for sure is her name is Barbara Ann. She wasn't always this way- she was a military wife, busy mom of 20 (4 biological and 16 adopted kids, but that's a story of its own!) and Nana to over a dozen grandkids. She loved going to the movies, listening to music, and just being out and about. All of that started to change when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few years back.
My papa was her caregiver, and when he suddenly passed away from cancer, I quit my job to take care of my nana full time. I had no idea what I was getting into but was sure I'd be able to care for her.Alzheimer's is a disease that doesn't ever improve. It can slowly progress or stall, but it only gets worse with time. Caring for my nana, I realized the only way to make it through the day with her is to focus on the current moment. As long as she is content at the moment, she's so much easier to manage. To other Alzheimer's caregivers, I'd say don't compare today's experiences to yesterday's and don't worry too much about what's to come.
You can't change the inevitable, but you can choose to make the present moment a little more tolerable as much as possible. Ask for help when you need it, and you will need it.Caregiving is often a thankless job, and it really does take a village. I'm thankful that my village also happens to be my family. Without them, I wouldn't have been able to care for her as well as I did.
While there have been so many people who've helped me along the way, my uncle Bill is undoubtedly the man behind my successful caregiving for my nana. He has been instrumental in not only my ability to care for her but for myself as well. This has been an unforgettable experience, and I'm forever grateful for having enough support to be able to give my nana the love and care she deserves.Submitted by: Sara Bell
Thank you for sharing your loving story with us, Sara, and for helping us get a glimpse of the journey involved in caring for someone with Alzheimers. There are many personal heroes in your story, your nana who sounds like an amazing and brave woman, you for your love and dedication, and your family for their support and guidance.
You can read more about Sara's experiences with caring for someone with Alzheimer's on her blog at MyNanasKeeper.com
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