It’s been called “the long goodbye.”
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most unsettling situations a family can encounter.
- An estimated 5.4 million people in this country have Alzheimer’s.
- One in three over 85 are diagnosed with dementia of some sort.
- For adults over 65, the number is one out of nine.
- Every 66 seconds, another person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia is an umbrella term that encompasses many different diseases, of which Alzheimer’s is the largest group. A diagnosis means that a person’s mental abilities are on a downward trend, and it will get worse as time goes on. As Dr. Gary Chapman says, “With any dementia, today is the best day.” That’s not a comforting prospect to families with a loved one with dementia.
The logistics can be complicated, time consuming, exhausting, and expensive. Family members may struggle to be on the same page about the level of care that’s needed, who should be responsible for which parts of the care, and how the costs should be divided.
A loved one with Alzheimer’s is also a highly emotional situation. The love and care you extend will gradually become a one-way street.
My colleague Lisa Anderson told me that caring for her mother has been a lesson in the denial of self:
“Denying yourself, picking up your cross, caring for others, and being sacrificial is not just for married people. It’s not just for parents. It’s not just for people who are ‘super saints.’ It’s for every single one of us who follow Jesus Christ. We are all called to give of ourselves in a way that ultimately will be giving more than we probably think we can. It’s a self-sacrificial love.”
Many of you are in a similar situation with your spouse, parent, friend, or an extended family member. I hope you’ll join us for our radio program “Loving Someone with Alzheimer’s.”
Dr. Gary Chapman is back with us. He’ll be sharing about his personal experience with his mother’s journey through Alzheimer’s and about concepts from his book, “Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The 5 Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey.”
Also joining us is Lisa Anderson, who heads up our Boundless Outreach here at Focus on the Family – a robust online environment for dialogue about important issues affecting Christian singles in their 20s and 30s.
For those facing this situation, our conversation will give you important, practical information, and we’ll offer you hope and encouragement for the challenges you encounter on the Alzheimer’s journey. You can hear the program on your local radio station, online, or on our free phone app. And don’t forget to check our online store for other helpful digital and print resources.