Alzheimers: A Ticking Time Bomb
I live with Alzheimer’s Disease every single day of my life. That’s because we have a close family member with Alzheimer’s who lives with us 24/7 inside our home.
I cannot even begin to tell you the toll this takes — physically and emotionally — on the caregiver(s).
In this case, the caregiver is Marieta, who spends several hours per day caring for her elderly mother who is 89. It’s difficult enough dealing with the disease and managing decline from a practical needs standpoint — eating, bathing, and assisted “normal” activities we mostly take for granted. However, the pain of witnessing decline daily takes the most out of a person.
Marieta’s mom was a pharmacist back in her native Romania. After we married, Mom lived half the time with us here in the U.S., and half the time in The Netherlands, where Marieta’s brother lived. But about ten years ago, something strange began happening. She wasn’t just forgetting things. Soon, it became a matter of safety. Now, she requires total care.
Why am I posting this? I’m not looking for sympathy nor any words of comfort, though the thoughts are appreciated. By necessity, we have become amateur experts at navigating the health care system, particularly as it pertains to senior care and mental health.
What I am asking for is YOUR SUPPORT for all the government programs and progressive proposals which seek to address Alzheimer’s and other diseases relating to mental health. Mental health care has been grotesquely neglected and we are now paying the price. In some ways, this has become a crisis. Chances are — if you are reading this, YOU will be touched by mental health diseases at some time in your life. There’s even a chance you could end up as one of the many millions of people overcome by the affliction. Or, end up as a caregiver. If and when that happens, only then can the horrors of this disease be understood.
The United States (which means ALL of us) desperately needs to address this issue. Yes, we have many other needs and we have neglected our society and people for a long time. So, we damn well better rethink priorities and start allocating resources more wisely. For some of us, it’s too late. If you’re reading this, it’s incumbent upon YOU to be aware of this problem and try and work with us to make things better.
Thanks for reading and understanding.