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It is difficult to truly care for someone

. As Americans, we are constantly focused on ourselves, albeit unintentionally (for the most part). Day to day we are doing everything we can to just survive without causing direct harm to people in our path as we cruise down lifes fast lane. With all that goes on in our lives, the concept of stopping and making someone else a true priority can seem almost ludicrous; not that we are horrible people, but rather unsure of ourselves and if we can even handle the responsibility. There is a Good Samaritan in all of us, but she is usually buried amongst an avalanche of worry and obligations.

When someone in your family is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, they become a priority. The first thing you have to do is to rid yourself of feelings of guilt and shame. If youre like me, you instantly getting down on yourself when you admit true thoughts that you have that may not be the prettiest. It is very normal to have thoughts pop in your head that arent prettyWhy did this have to happen now? Why couldnt this happen to someone else? Those are the self focused thoughts that come out because we, as people, are selfish. It is important to get those thoughts out there, because lying about them will only drive you further into a hole. However, once they are out, and you are freed up, it comes time to look towards the future a new you.

If this person was someone in your family who would make important decisions, that responsibility may fall on you now. An Alzheimer's patient typically loses the ability to make rational assessments, due to the fact that symptoms like memory loss and confusion are typically the first to arrive. Activities like balancing the household budget or doing certain chores may be out of the question. At this point, it is important not only to take over these tasks, but to also reinforce a level of support for your loved one as you continually let them know that youre there for them.

Families also tend to exhibit a level of awkwardness around the person with Alzheimer's. Unsure of what to do or say, family members will shy around the loved one, saying little and visibly displaying their discomfort. These are scenarios you can prevent. Keeping things lighthearted and as normal as possible go a long way for an Alzheimer's patient; your example as an Alzheimers Caregiver can also lead the way for the rest of the family as well.

The important thing to remember is that once someone in your family is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, things are going to be different. The more you prepare yourself mentally and physically, the more likely you are to keep yourself from wallowing in the thoughts that lead you to feel bad about yourself, and your loved one to feel more isolated. Get all your thoughts out there to people you trust thats the only way to gain a clear conscience. Once you are in a good place, you may start seeing the good that will come out of a difficult situation. Namely, that your character, after being tested, will strengthen, and you will have become a better person.

by: Ron CapursoAbout the Author:In 1992, Michele Capurso began her career as a Geriatric Social Worker. She obtained her Bachelor Degree from Molloy College in Rockville Centre NY, graduating Summa Cum Laude. She then went on to pursue her Master Degree from the Graduate School of Social Services, Fordham University, NY. For more on this


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