Understanding Alzheimer's: Insights from a Caregiver's Heart

Understanding Alzheimer's: Insights from a Caregiver's Heart

Alzheimer's disease devastated our family when my mom, at just 67, was diagnosed in 2010 and passed away two years later. Living through her journey opened my eyes in ways I could never have anticipated. Through this post, I hope to share those insights, supported by the innovative Alzheimer's Module from Embodied Labs, which gave me a deeper understanding of what it might have felt like for her.

The Subtle Early Signs of Alzheimer’s

Reflecting back to a few years before my mom's diagnosis, the changes were subtle but telling. Our once orderly home began to show signs of neglect—piles of unopened mail, multiple empty shampoo bottles, and groceries left unpacked. At first, I rationalized these as mere effects of living alone since my dad's passing in 2000. However, post-diagnosis, these signs took on new meaning: they were survival strategies for someone struggling to maintain control over her fading memory.

The Changing Dynamics at Family Gatherings

I vividly remember one Christmas when the impact of Alzheimer’s became undeniably clear. Our tradition of having lasagna on Christmas Eve was nearly broken. My mom, who had made lasagna countless times, couldn’t remember the steps. That year, we created a new tradition—cooking together. This adjustment in our routine was poignant but necessary, reflecting the adaptability required in the face of Alzheimer's.

Virtual Reality: A Window into Their World

My experience with the Alzheimer’s Module by Embodied Labs was transformative. It allowed me to step into the shoes of someone living with Alzheimer's. I saw firsthand the confusion and isolation caused by the disease, not just the forgetfulness. It was a profound reminder that Alzheimer’s patients are acutely aware of their reality slipping away, a truth that can often be more painful than the disease’s more visible symptoms.

The Power of Music in Alzheimer’s Care

The final video in the module highlighted a touching scene during Christmas, where music revived a woman's spirits, mirroring my experiences with my mom. Whenever she felt agitated, music was the soothing balm that brought her peace, even if just momentarily. This reinforced the significant role that music therapy can play in managing Alzheimer’s, providing a respite for both the patient and caregivers.

Embracing the Role of a Caregiver

Though I would never wish this journey on anyone, the insights gained have prepared me to be a more empathetic and effective caregiver. If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s, I encourage you to explore resources like Caregiver Action Network  and consider engaging with virtual reality modules that can offer a deeper understanding of this condition.

For those looking to become more involved or educated in Alzheimer’s care, visiting Embodied Labs and participating in their training programs can be an invaluable resource.