Here is a list of those in attendance today and a brief mention of the loved one they care for. All of us care for a family member living with some form of dementia.
Henry: spouse at home with Alzheimer's with significant paranoia; needs constant supervision
Frank: wife Grace in care facility; mute; eyes closed for past 2 years
Marion: spouse, Don, a twin whose brother also has Alzheimer's; Don is recently deceased after living 2 years in an adult family home; Marion still attends group for support and "to help others if I can"
Francis: spouse of 16 years; lives at home with her
Arlene: new to group; spouse has dementia secondary to whole brain radiation for non hodgkin's lymphoma
Joanne: husband Don in care facility
Jenny: long-distance caregiver to mother in memory care unit
Bob: wife at home; compliant, soft spoken, "easy"
Lillian: spouse at home; watches TV 24/7
Chris: spouse Karl, 59, in memory care unit for past 1.5 years; wanderer
Christina: mother; full-time caregiver for past 4 years; has 4 siblings in U.S. but does all the caregiving "since I'm the only single one and they all have kids"
Ruby: spouse has early onset Alzheimer's; lives at home with her; Ruby recently diagnosed with breast cancer
Frank, who is soft-spoken and teary-eyed most of the time, stepped out of his shell today and read us a list of silly internet quotes that had us all busting at the seams. Janet, the social worker who facilitates the group, popped in a DVD with an image of a fireplace complete with crackling logs and orange embers. Lillian brought cheesecake, sparkling cider, mixed nuts, and two thermoses of coffee as a special treat. Joanne brought her neighbor, Arlene, who reluctantly placed her husband in an adult family home just 10 days ago. Last night she treated herself to a musical downtown, her first night out in 3 years.
It takes a village. I'm proud to be part of this one!