Guide to Caring for a Parent with Alzheimer's
The complex world of caring for your ill parent means practicing love, acceptance, and sometimes even yelling at God.
By Virginia Stem Owens
I had never seen the logic in asking "Why me?" when some calamity befell me. Couldn't one just as reasonably ask "Why not me?" But when my mother began to show signs of dementia from Alzheimer's disease, I found myself asking on her behalf, "Why her?" If ever a person did not deserve such a fate, it was my mother. She was a good, generous, funny, loving person who had already suffered a number of tribulations in her life.
But deserving has little to do with disease. Like the rain, it falls on the just and the unjust. And, as suddenly as a summer thunderstorm, my mother's care fell to me as she declined into dementia and finally to death over a seven-year period. In this country, millions of people are living through similar experiences. Knowing my own desperation while I tried to help both my parents during those years, I've gathered some expectations, suggestions, and nuggets of wisdom that might help others.
Adapted from "Caring for Mother: A Daughter's Long Goodbye." © 2007 Virginia Stem Owens. Published by Westminster John Knox Press. Used with permission.