Dear Friend of the New York City Chapter,
“Donna, I’m here with your mother. She was wandering around the hallway, not knowing where to go.”
My heart froze. I was so afraid. This call from a kind neighbor turned out to be a defining moment in my family’s life. I could no longer deny the extent of my mother’s dementia. It was clear that she could not live alone. We moved mom in with us the next week.
Initially I was paralyzed with fear, not knowing where to turn for help. Through my company, I was put in touch with the New York City Chapter. It was there where I began to learn all I could to help my mother and access the support I needed as a caregiver.
I attended educational programs, including Understanding Dementia, Legal and Financial Planning, and Medicaid Home Care seminars, as well as the Family Caregiver Workshop. These programs provided practical advice on how to care for my mother, all offered free of charge. I also joined a support group where I met other daughters who were dealing with the same issues as I was. We learned from each other, exchanging information gained during educational sessions and through our personal experiences as caregivers.
Throughout the next three increasingly difficult yet extremely rewarding years, my husband and I cared for my mother in our home. As her care needs grew more demanding, I began to think about nursing homes and attended the Chapter’s seminar Placing Your Relative in a Nursing Home. Around that time my mother fell and broke her hip and upon the advice of professionals, we decided to place her in a nursing home. It remains the hardest decision I have ever had to make. Fortunately, the support I received from the Chapter’s dementia care experts and my support group “sisters” reinforced that I made the right choice.
One day I would like to assist other caregivers who are just beginning their journey. When I am no longer a caregiver I plan to become a support group leader to give back for the help that I received. This spring, as we celebrate Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I hope you will consider honoring someone important to you and make a gift to the NYC Chapter. Your gift helps caregivers access the services to guide them through their journey. Thank you.
P.S. Please consider dedicating a chair in Bryant Park as a way to honor someone special in your life or the lives of others by visiting www.alznyc.org/bryantpark, or call Crissy Vicendese at 646-744-2927 for more information.