Alzheimer's Friend Support
I have been doing some serious thinking over the last few months. I think of all the people a person calls friend. I have a hard time believing that some people who say they are your friend desert you when you have a problem in your life. Then there are the friends who come forward and would do anything to help you through the tough situation. I learned first hand that friends can be a great asset when something happens to a loved one. I learned that they come forward and offer to take care of your loved one so you can have some down time.
I belong to an online support group for Alzheimer's. I hear stories of how their family abandoned them. I understand some family members are in denial but that makes it so hard on the one's left to take care of the loved one. Friends stop coming by because they don't know how to react around your loved one. This is not fair to the caregiver of the loved one. Some diseases people aren't scared of and continue to come but give them a disease that they don't understand and it is like the plaque has broke out. People are people. They need contact with others.
How many times has a friend been there to hold you when you are at the end of yourself. You can't do anything to help your loved one. You just need to vent but the friend doesn't know what to say so they don't come. A person gets frustrated with being the only one taking care of the loved one. You go with your loved one to the doctor or the hospital and the doctor treats you like you don't know anything about your loved one. Who does this doctor think they are? You are the one that is there with your Mom or Dad.
Having went through being a caregiver for a loved one with Alzheimer's I understand what my support group is feeling. So many times I wish I lived closer so I could give them a hug and let them cry or even just take some time for themselves. I have been down the road where my Dad didn't want to eat and I felt so frustrated as to what to do. I had to take a close look at his last wishes and make sure I didn't cross the line. In frustration I turned to the support group to reassure me that I wasn't alone. There are so many new members who are just starting the journey that no one is there to help them.
I never realized that the paperwork is so much and has to be done like right after the diagnosis. Guardianship was the hardest. How to you turn into two people. You have to keep your emotions in check because you can't make your loved ones decisions about life and death with your emotions. You have to be in their mind and do what you know they would want. Do they want to be kept alive by artificial means or just die? This is when that friend can be there for you. They know your loved one and can be impartial. You as the loved one is thinking that you want to put Mom or Dad or husband on life support. Your friend takes you in their arms and hugs you and sits you down and tells you that maybe you should think if you were in this condition and you knew the outcome would you like to be put on a breathing machine? Do you want to be fed by an artificial feeding tube? Do you want Mom or Dad to be a vegetable?
I know when you have been through something like this you can often be a better friend to someone who is going through it now. You can prepare them for what is ahead of them and be there for them when it gets to the tough decisions like the end of life decisions.