Duke University social worker Lisa Gwyther is an Alzheimer's caregiving pioneer, having started working with families almost 40 years ago, back when Alzheimer's was, like cancer, a dirty word about which even less was known. She's also the coauthor, with psychiatrist P. Murali Doraiswamy, of The Alzheimer's Action Plan: The Experts' Guide to the Best Diagnosis and Treatment for Memory Problems.
Here's some of her best advice:
Focus on what's left, not what's lost.
Good things and joy can happen to those who have Alzheimer's.
You, not your relative, will need to change.
Don't distress -- de-stress.
Your life is now about adapting to a chronic condition -- creating a "new normal."
This is the rainy day for which you have saved.
There are no perfect answers, no perfect families.
Memorize this: "I did what seemed best at the time."