The Millstone Times February 2019

As We Age

We provide Adult Day Services For Special Needs Adults (21 years old +) ADVICE FOR THE AGING COMMUNITY LOVING SOMEONE WITH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE By Sheli Monacchio I’ve worked in the health care industry since 1999. When I first started, I knew nothing about how the mind of someone with dementia worked. I do, however, remember the moment it started to click for me in February of 2001 where Ed and Lucy moved into the Assisted Living where I was working. Lucy had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Ed told me they had been married 65 years and their love story was sweet and endearing. On Valentine’s Day we had a party for the couples who lived at the facility and to show even those residents who had lost spouses that the staffed loved them. We invited Ed and Lucy to the party since they were married 65 years and they had a wonderful love story to share. Ed came to the party and he was visibly frustrated, walking a little bit ahead of Lucy upon their arrival. A few feet behind him was Lucy who was yelling, “Pop! Wait for me! Where are we going?” It took a moment for me to realize that Lucy was addressing Ed as “Pop”. At this point I thought maybe this was a name she called her husband. I welcomed them to the party and found them a seat. Ed raised his voice to her and said, “Lucy, I am not your father! I am your husband. Stop calling me ‘Pop’!” You see, Lucy couldn’t picture herself married to this 87-year-old man. In her mind, she was about fifteen years old on most days, sometimes she was closer to 25 and she clearly remembered the love she shared with her husband, Ed. He was a handsome, strong WWII Vet who came home to her and with whom she created her love story. Lucy’s love story stopped way before Ed’s did in her broken mind. In Lucy’s mind, her husband was young and handsome! Not an “old man” as she explained to me one day in an anxious state. Lucy was still the love of Ed’s life. The progression of her disease made it very hard for Ed to show that love every day. In time, he learned to “join Lucy’s journey” and when she called him Pop, he would answer her and not get as mad as did when they first moved in. It took some adjusting, but he continued to show her love, on Valentine’s Day and every day. What shoul you do if your spouse no longer recognizes the love that you have shared? Does Ed and Lucy’s story hit home for you? There are professionals to help in situations like this who can help you manage some of these challenging behaviors. Please email if you would like to be put in touch with a Dementi Practitioner in your area who can help you through such a situation. Remember, this is the disease that causes these behaviors. It’s not a personalized attack from yo r loved one. (Although sometimes it can feel like that.) Ed and Lucy’s story inspired me many years ago and I will never forget the love they shared. Yes, it did change a little as Lucy’s disease progressed, but it didn’t change the love story they shar d for 65 years or the powerful love that they shared. Call UsToday For ATour or Info! (732) 845-3332 • Free Door-to-DoorTransportation • Health Evaluations • Bi-Lingual staff • Music & PetTherapy • Educational Programs to assist & encourage independance with activities of daily living • Social Activities • Fabulous food and menu options • Recreation, Exercise,Trips to Museums, Stores, Crafts and more... Serving Monmouth, Middlesex & Ocean Residents Medicaid/HMO/DDD

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The Millstone Times

February 2019

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