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Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin

December 28, 2010

“Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, how can I help you?”

“I was hoping that I could schedule an appointment to talk to one of your staff about an elderly gentleman I have agreed to help.  He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years ago, and I think it is progressing rather quickly.  Would someone there be available to talk with me?”

“Of course!”

The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin has since then been that friend that never says no, that friend who can be trusted implicitly.  We appreciate very much the support and care that they have given us free of charge.  Their advice, based on years of both personal and professional experience has made a real difference in how we handle things on Albert’s behalf.  Their staff has been invaluable to us as we have learned to be better advocates for Albert.

Our relationship with the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin began with that phone call shortly after our elderly friend, Albert, asked that we “help him write a few checks”.  He was experiencing “cognitive impairment”, as he insisted on calling it.  Albert was in a tough situation and needed a trusted friend to be there for him in the good and, unfortunately, the many episodes of bad that awaited him.  We were honored to be asked to help, but had only a vague idea of how to go about being useful to someone with dementia issues.

With the help and guidance of the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin staff, we discovered that our plan to treat Albert and his situation as if he were our own father was the best one.  We learned how to fine tune our “Albert speak”—the new language we were learning in order to communicate effectively with Albert.  As Albert’s capacities rapidly changed, the Alliance taught us how to better frame issues so that they were no longer frightening or scary to Albert; they demonstrated to us how to reassure him that his feelings were genuine and valuable and that the pain he was experiencing in his heart did not mean that he was alone.  Most importantly, we saw modeled behaviors that allowed us to convey that sense of caring that Albert needed from us.  Sometimes, effective communication means that there just isn’t anything that can be said; we just sit near him and give him a hug.

What has been most precious about the assistance that the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin has given us is the willingness to meet with us one on one, to assist us as new and more challenging situations arise.  Each time we have repeated the phone call we made originally, we are greeted with the same response:  “Of course!”  As Albert’s daily living needs have changed and the residence where he is living has advocated plans that may not necessarily be in Albert’s best interest, but rather their own, the Alliance has helped us formulate the questions we needed serious answers to in order to make the best decision possible.  They have helped us to better understand the pharmacology and the medical decisions we have been asked to make.  They have been willing even to work with us to bring a new level of awareness to the staff at Albert’s new home.  The Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin is a full-service organization, helping not only the victims of these terrible afflictions, but also those who support them.

In short, we don’t know how we would do this for our friend Albert without our friends at the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Marion permalink
    February 2, 2011 4:52 pm

    One must always remember not to lament and be sad for what one has forgetten but rejoice in what is remembered. Albert has forgotten a lot but be greatful for that which he remembers each and every day.

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