For those of you viewing this ongoing report from CBS/60 minutes it gives us a glimpse of what it is like to be a full time caregiver to a loved one with Alzheimer disease. There is a reason they call it “the long goodbye”.
I believe as I feel most do, that her husband went in to this with the full intent of seeing it all the way through. Mike was glad to give back some of the loving support Carol had given to him with his high stress job of a New York city police officer.
Those of us in this industry applaud his determination but in the end he was very frank in his concern for her safety. As Dr. LaPook points out, it is easy to be determined and compassionate about wanting to care for Carol, it is equally hard to be determined and compassionate when the time comes to ask for help. This was not a weakness for Mike, this was a strength. Knowing that he couldn’t care for her safely and appropriately was foremost on his mind and putting her safety and his mental health first was the most courageous act he could have done.
I certainly wish he had considered moving her to a different environment long before he endangered his own life. Seeing him neglect himself, gain weight by not eating right, have stress attacks and chest pains further enforces my belief that caring for someone for this long, alone, is not humanly possible. I’m not sure why, we as Americans, feel as if it’s necessary for us to carry the burden alone. That asking for assistance or placement in a facility is a failure on someone’s part?
At any rate, it is a very moving piece that I hope gives way to conversations about all of these issues.
Sharon Britt, Mountainside Senior Living Administrator