Stories from the Club, the Caregivers and the Community
Heard around the table at Old Friends Club:
What are you grateful for?
“My life, even though it’s different now.”
“Making friends at this time of my life. My friends were gone and now I’ve made new ones.”
“Being able to talk and share. I haven’t been able to do that for a long time. And being silly! I couldn’t do that before either.”
“People who help me.”
"Being able to learn. I have to do things a new way, but I can.”
At Old Friends Club, what ails us is not what defines us.
Some of us have memory issues,
Alzheimer's or other dementia;
for some, a stroke changed how the body works,
or maybe thoughts don't easily become words we want.
It doesn't really matter what brings us together.
We encourage, support and accept one another.
What matters is that together makes for a good day.
We like to feature resources that shine a light on aspects of dementia, the people who live with it and the folks who care for them.
The Art of Alzheimer’s shares remarkable art by vibrant people, opening hearts and minds to a different way of thinking about Alzheimer’s and dementia and preparing us all to be better stewards of an aging population.
The Caregiving Experience from an Old Friends Club caregiver's perspective:
Have you ever experienced a time when thoughts of just making it through your day were incessant; when deadlines at work hound your every move as you also navigate grocery shopping, house cleaning, paying bills and preparing meals? Imagine combining those thoughts with also having to think for another adult who has suddenly and recently lost the ability to carry out simple tasks like eating, dressing themselves, paying their bills or the smallest of household chores.
Oh, and one other thing, this person is physically healthy yet has an uncontrollable need to be engaged in some sort of physical & social activity from the time they awake in the morning to the time they go back to sleep at night and, in most cases, they need supervision while they are awake.
This is the 24/7 experience for many family caregivers. Most of the help needed to maintain their own wellness while caring for another is not covered by any insurance. They are unpaid—taking on a job which for professional caregivers earn an average of $30 per hour, an amount families must pay out of pocket for relief.
The stories of family caregivers are as similar as they are varied. Common experiences and emotions include lack of sleep, frustration, despair, isolation, anger and resentment—just to name a few. For a sibling, spouse or child trying to survive alone while actively caring for a relative with cognitive challenges the end result can often be their own life threatening illness brought on by stress, lack of sleep and poor diet.
OLD FRIENDS CLUB offers an affordable lifeline for those families challenged by Alzheimer's and other dementia related disease. We do our best to accommodate anyone by offering assistance for low-income applicants.
(Thank you Kim for sharing your experience. You are an inspiration.)
Dorthy, pictured in the foreground, has Alzheimer's. Her daughter Kim is her sole caregiver.