COMPASSIONATE SUPPORT FOR THE CAREGIVER
From one day to the next Alzheimer’s Disease became a reality for me. David and Linda are close friends, they are family. Linda, at 50 years of age, was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease. After my initial shock eased a bit, I had a choice to make. I could go on with life as I knew it, I could wait and see how the illness progressed and somehow figure out how to support my friends down the road when things got really tough. Or I could be there for Linda and David 100 %. I knew they were going to need all the help they could get.
My mission, my goal, is to
Dr. David Davis
There are some things in life we have to go through alone. In fact, on some level we have to go through everything alone, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s what shapes us, defines us, and gives us the strength and courage to face each additional challenge. But alone doesn’t mean without help, support, guidance and love.
I don’t know that I could have survived the toughest parts of this journey without the support of my dear friend Joko. There were too many days to count when I was adrift in a sea of my own tears, the waves of sadness too big to see beyond. The daunting task of caring for my wife left me battered and bruised by the inertia of depression. The scope of witnessing the disappearance of my wife to the ravages of this cruel illness occupied the entirety of my field of vision. It was Joko, who held me aloft with hope. It was the love and support of this extraordinary friend whose strength and determination would not let me fall into the abyss. I am a caregiver, … she is a Caregiver’s Caregiver. What kind of compassion does it take to fully immerse yourself into every aspect of caregiving until you emerge with a new mission, a mission to support caregivers and help ease their burden?
Over the past few years, Joko has developed the strategies and perspective necessary to care for Loved Ones with dementia. I fought her tooth and nail as she softly, yet authoritatively shared with me the ways to lessen the effects of the stresses involved. My stubbornness yielded to acceptance and surrender as her ideas continued to prove effective and invaluable.
Letting go and asking for support is one of the most difficult challenges for a caregiver, but indeed we must. It was Joko, whose insistence on taking care of myself, physically and emotionally, that has brought me to a new level of understanding and acceptance. In reflection, I can say that so much of the peace I feel today has come from her loving support. She knows so well how to concoct the perfect blend of empathy, strength, wisdom and love. Literally, Joko saved my life and continues to illuminate my path of healing and growth.
In speaking with many caregivers over the years, the most common thread is that all caregivers need more support! Each person’s experience of caring for their Loved One is different. Everyone handles (or doesn’t) their stress in their own way and every caregiver can tremendously benefit by getting more support, from family, friends and neighbors!
Was it easy to support David? No, not at all! Resistance plays a big roll in accepting help and we will talk about that at length. David is a tough cookie and having dealt with the toughest has given us both a tremendous amount of insight and has ultimately resulted in the creation of the 9 Strategies for Support the Caregiver.
I have seen the changes that take place when caregivers give themselves a chance! What an amazing feeling it is to empower yourself, to see and feel the rewards of a single simple change! You are stronger than you know!
This is your time to step back, to think about what works and what doesn’t work in your daily life as a primary caregiver. This is your time to contemplate and set in motion the changes you desire.
• Gain new insights and clarity about your role as a caregiver
• Establishing a plan that works for you using essential strategies so you can experience a life filled with hope and possibility
• Rekindle your confidence and plan for the future
• Transcend the pain and sorrow you are experiencing and explore ways for you to enjoy peaceful times
• Help you through your daily challenges:
Whether you are a friend, a family member, a neighbor or a volunteer, your intent, your wish to be a caregiver’s caregiver will change two lives, yours and the primary caregivers you are caring for! We will talk about how you can be of support to the primary caregiver.
Please, if you know a primary caregiver, if you are a friend, a relative, a neighbor or you just heard about someone at your place of worship, at work, at school, reach out! Send a card, a note, offer your help if you can.
Sadly not every caregiver is fortunate enough to have the support they need. Your support, your loving care will be much appreciated!
If you are here, on this page, reading and wanting to gather information about how you can support a primary caregiver – I love you! And I thank you!