GUT PUNCHED: ALZHEIMER’S & CAREGIVERS

Gut Punched: Alzheimer’s & Caregivers - Trailer

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Navigating the insidious illness of Alzheimer’s is something nobody asks for. The disease sneaks up on you and your loved one, and it feels like you’ve been sucker-punched in the gut when you get the diagnosis from a doctor. So many things race through your mind: why us? What do we do? We worked so hard to get to this point in life. We just moved here after we both worked for 30 years, sold our house up North, and retired to Florida to enjoy our “golden years”. It’s not fair! Who’s going to take care of her/him? I don’t know a thing about this illness. She’s always done the cooking; I don’t even know how to boil water. He’s always taken care of me and everything else like Finances. I don’t even drive! And it goes on and on. Facing this disease will bring you to your knees. Once you get over the initial shock (GUT PUNCHED), the questions and fears take hold. Where do we turn for help? Who do I call? What do I do? How do you take care of someone with Alzheimer’s? Are there support groups? And questions like these just keep coming. I am a caregiver. I wasn’t before. Well, not this kind of caregiver. My wife was officially diagnosed in January of 2018. I had a sneaking suspicion that she might have something like this about 2 years earlier. So, when I brought it to my Neurologist, he sent us to a very nice Psychologist who specializes in testing patients to determine more accurately what is going on. It was a question-and-answer session, followed by a very detailed testing procedure that usually takes 3 or more hours. The patient has to complete the test comprising of questions, simple actions, and memory tests, then give them a couple of numbers or words then move on, going back to the numbers or words a short time later. 

So moving forward, I asked all the same questions as mentioned earlier. What are my options? So I “sucked it up”-Manned up so to speak. It’s part of the deal for better or worse, right? So began my quest for information on support groups, doctors, anything I could get my hands on. It’s been 6 years, and I am still looking for everything and anything that will help me crawl through this unchartered path to enlightenment. I was very fortunate to live in a city that has numerous resources to tap into. Most importantly, it’s a place named after someone who suffered from Alzheimer’s. His wife provided the money to start the Alvin Dubin Center: The Dubin Center for short. Their mission is to achieve caregiver health, strength, and resilience by providing education, information, hope, and compassion. And boy do they. I leaned on them for everything I could find. Took all kinds of classes to learn what I needed to do to be the caregiver I have to be. Their caregiver class took about 6 weeks. The material we learned from, and the instructors, were top-notch. I still go back to the notes I took, and the books we used: both as refreshers and inspiration. Hopefully, no matter where you are listening to this, there will be a place like the Dubin Center. If not, don’t despair. The info is out there. That’s what this podcast is about. We’d like to share our resources, our experiences, our heartbreak, and our little victories. From time to time, we’d like to bring in Physicians, Nurses, Experts, and people like you and me, who are going through this disease with our loved ones who are willing to share their journey. The first thing that really stuck with me, and hopefully it will be with you. If you are a caregiver, you must first take care of yourself. Because this is not a sprint, but a marathon. And if you are run down, get sick, or worse…. Who’s going to take care of your spouse, mother, father, or child? Think about that for a few seconds. It’s you, the Caregiver. It’s me the Caregiver. That’s why we’re here. Gut Punched: Alzheimer’s & Caregivers! Thanks for joining us…now let’s get going.

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