Have you ever had unwelcome company show up unannounced? What’s worse is when, through tmanipulation and false guilt, you agree that they can stay over the weekend. We’ve had a most unwelcome guest move into our lives; its name is Frontotemporal Dementia. The problem with FTD is that it refuses to just stop by for a short visit, like a cold or the flu. Indeed, it not only moved in, it has slowly taken over every part of our lives. It’s kind of like letting your unemployed brother move in, just til he gets back on his feet, which he never does. He not only eats you out of house and home, but generally makes life more difficult than you ever thought possible. Of course, this illustration only works if you understand that the brother is not only stealing your most precious possessions, but also intends to kill you. I desperately want to toss the bastard out, but sadly, it hasn’t moved into our basement, but into Harriet’s brain. Which is why I need to do whatever I can to help Harriet through this chapter of her life. I’ve become her caregiver, not because of any special gifts of compassion that I possess, but rather, because of our marriage vows.
My new calling as a caregiver, seems overwhelming. Because of this, I am reading every book, article, blog, and website I can find. I’ve also gone on YouTube and watched hour after hour of videos put out to equip caregivers for the task before them. I’ve come to see that no one should attempt to do this alone. If you do, your poor family will have two funerals to prepare for. I’ve also come to see, that there is a community that helps each other out, made up of people who have already gone through this, or those who are even now struggling to provide a safe place, for their loved ones. This is why I am undertaking this blog. I hope that what I write may help someone else whose life has been upended by this disease.
The sad truth is that Alzheimer’s, FTD, and every other type of dementia, already has millions of people in their grasp. Thousands, if not millions more, have already been targeted. It is my prayer that, what I write may, in some small way, help these people. Dementia is not usually a short term disease. We are in this for the long haul, which is why we need to stand together, get equipped, and move forward with hope and dignity.