3/11 – Today is my birthday and to any caregiver you understand that this day along with other holidays or celebrations can be bittersweet. Sweet in knowing it’s an opportunity for a celebration, Bitter in seeing how your loved one, especially ones in the later stages of Alzheimer’s, has no clue on what this day or any other one means. A day is a day and though you can tell them, what the special event or celebration is for, it doesn’t stick.
With early onset Alzheimer’s there may be some hint of them remembering what that particular holiday or celebration is all about, as was the case with my mom. I remember the first Christmas when her changes were noticeable. She knew to say Merry Christmas when it was said to her, she enjoyed opening presents, but it didn’t register with her that she hadn’t gotten me a card or gift. Caregivers whether you’re sentimental or not, you’ll cherish those last cards or notes that your loved one or friend was able to buy and/or write on their own before their decline. And it’s not so much about the cards, as it is, that this person who once remembered you now doesn’t.
As for Birthday celebrating or wishes, let me tell you, Alzheimer’s has beaten up my spirit. I feel as if the day as flown too quickly for me to take time to be reflective. While everyone was wishing me a great day, I was hoping for a “calm day.” I didn’t want Alzheimer’s to steal my joy, it’s hard for it not too. But I promised myself to continue being good to me, try to remain balanced, and manage Alzheimers as best as I can.