Maureen introduces herself and shares what first went through her mind when she learned her father had Alzheimer's disease.
My name is Maureen Canright. I am a caregiver for my father who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about a year ago. I moved in with him last November, and it was a very difficult transition and experience initially until I fortunately got connected with Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, which I have gone through all of the programs, attended all of their outings, and have gained enormous confidence and education in this illness, and with both my father and his brother and my mother’s grandmother having Alzheimer’s, it’s very important for me to find all I can about it.
Well, actually it was almost a relief to find out what it was. It was difficult to diagnose. I don’t know that it was difficult to diagnose; I had a difficult time communicating with all of the myriad doctors that we had to see, and there’s not much information that’s provided to a caregiver or a family member from the doctor. You go and you see a neurologist who says, “Yes, you have Alzheimer’s,” and writes a little thing down and gives them a slip and says, “Yeah, come back in six months.”
Well, that’s fine, but what do we do for six months? How do we live? How do we communicate? How do we talk? How do we live? And do it as gracefully as we can without constantly fighting. Number one lesson: Never argue with an Alzheimer’s patient.
But by the time you learn that, you have already had plenty of arguments because you don’t understand that it’s Alzheimer’s. You don’t understand that they are not getting it; you don’t understand that their short-term memory is gone and because they look normal and can act normal, sometimes you think it’s you.
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