The Sun Will Shine Again
By Shannon Olson, LCSW, Clinical Director.
Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia. It is a degenerative brain disease that occurs due to cell damage. The first sign is usually trouble with remembering new information as the disease typically impacts the part of the brain associated with learning first. As it advances, symptoms get more severe and include disorientation, confusion and behavior changes. Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, and it currently has no cure.
That’s pretty depressing and scary, isn’t it? We don’t know what the experience is for the person affected as communication gets harder as memory fails. What I have observed in family members with this disease is fear and panic when there is awareness that something is wrong, confusion, loss of words and concepts, and uncertainty. As a loved one, providing all the support I can, it’s grief and love, fear and nurturing, self-doubt and determination, loneliness and support. It’s a “I have no idea what I’m doing” white-knuckling-it love while experiencing sadness, anger, confusion, isolation and fear (the mixed bag of grief). And we haven’t even started the conversation on the hits to personal life and finances! When Alzheimer’s showed up, I knew that long term grieving of loving someone with a terminal illness was now a part of my life. It sucks. It’s harder than anyone can describe for you, because there is a level of indescribable that goes along with this. The end of my first paragraph came with “there is no cure,” luckily, there is “no cure” for love either. Love can’t beat this disease, but it is the force we draw on to ensure our loved one’s safety and comfort.
I am certain anyone caring for someone with Alzheimer’s deserves all the support we can give them. We can’t walk the journey for you, but we can and will walk it with you. I am the proud Clinical Director of this amazing team at Owens & Associates Counseling and Therapy Center. Not one of them, from your first contact to your last, is afraid of the difficult, painful or debilitating. Every one of them will provide you with the kindness, care and support you need and deserve. If someone you love has Alzheimer’s or any other degenerative or terminal illness, please reach out. We can make this journey less lonely, less isolating and even a little less unbearable. I’m going to hold onto something a loved one once told me: the sun will shine again. Until then, let us walk through the rain and the wind with you in this season of life. Reach out 847-854-4333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have no waiting list, but we have a lot of compassion.