Every Friday when I am in town, I spend part of my day at the Alzheimer Daycare Center at my church. What an amazing experience this has been for me. It is my first time to have any interaction with Alzheimer’s. Here are some observations.
–The staff is dedicated, always positive, loving but firm. Safety is their primary concern. They carry out a tremendous ministry.
–The patients are sweet, kind and fairly easy to manage. When they are not, we just pull them aside and give them some time alone.
–They remember the songs from 50 years ago but not their children’s names.
–I introduce myself every week to each of them as they have forgotten.
–I learned early on to ask them no questions but to tell them about myself.
–The interior of the center looks much like a daycare for young children. The walls are covered with their artwork and coloring and jigsaw puzzles made into wall hangings.
–They all love a good hug.
–They all look forward to lunch and insist from the moment they walk in that someone has arrived to pick them up.
I have been so blessed by this work not just because it’s so different but because it challenges me to think quickly, act lovingly and realize how blessed I am!
In this group, we have a former head bank teller, school teachers, a rocket scientist and a socialite. As one daughter said to me, “Mother gets all dressed up every day because she thinks she is going to the bank to work.”
Yes, sometimes it breaks my heart but it also fills my soul with gratitude.
“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.”
― Tia Walker, The Inspired Caregiver: Finding Joy While Caring for Those You Love