Getting the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease today is much like what getting a cancer diagnosis used to be for some people: devastating, often debilitating, and leaving one not knowing who to tell or where to turn. Years ago when I was a nurse, some patients didn’t want their families to know they had cancer. While cancer patients have gotten braver about their need for support and advocating for treatments and cures, many individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease still fear the stigma…and the confusion over what to do next.
My father is in the moderate severe stage of Alzheimer’s disease. I am fortunate that, at least for now, he is able to remain at home where he is well cared for by my mother. But despite the fact that my Mom has ample respite during the week, I am well aware that, at times, caregiving can be overwhelming and frustrating.