Summer solstice, this year on June 20, is not just the longest day of the year. It is also the day to fight Alzheimer’s. “The day with the most light is the day we fight.”
Millions of Americans suffer from some form of dementia, with the largest number (5.8 million) having Alzheimer’s. I have been thrust into the middle of this horrible disease, being the caregiver for both parents who have been diagnosed with different dementias. As a teenager, I first encountered Alzheimer’s when my grandmother had it.
The Solstice is the appropriate day to highlight this disease because every day with Alzheimer’s is the longest day. After answering the same question 25 times–about how to do something that they have always known how to do, I sometimes feel that the day will never end.
People suffering with dementia have good days and they have bad days; they are all long. I have just lived through a week of really difficult and unending days, with my Dad spending three nights in the hospital and my Mom struggling to care for him at home.
I’m ready to fight! Will you join me? Put on some purple and flood social media with #EndALZ.
The alz.org website provides all the answers you need. Check it out.
- Sign up for support groups for family and caregivers.
- 24-hour helpline at 800.272.3900.
- Information about efforts to end Alzheimer’s and all dementias, including accelerating global research.
- Handy guide listing 10 early signs and how they differ from typical age-related changes. Memory Loss & 10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s | alz.org
- Fundraisers for The Longest Day. I’m not sponsoring a fundraiser, but if this is a cause you’re interested, please go to the alz.org website and donate now.
If you’re facing this disease, I’d love to recommend two books that have helped me immensely. Both books are written by geriatricians. Not surprising that the largest number of doctors want to become pediatricians, yet the smallest number want to go into geriatrics.
Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia by John Dunlop, M.D.
“There is hope. . . When a patient is diagnosed with dementia, it impacts not only the patient but also those who care for them. It can be devastating to watch loved ones lose the independence, personality, and abilities that once defined them, knowing there is no cure. How should Christians respond to a diagnosis of dementia?
“Experienced geriatrician Dr. John Dunlop wants to transform the way we view dementia―showing us how God can be honored through such a tragedy as we respect the inherent dignity of all humans made in the image of God. Sharing stories from decades of experience with dementia patients, Dunlop provides readers, particularly caregivers, with a biblical lens through which to understand the experience and challenge of this life-altering disease. Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia will help you see God’s purposes as you love and care for those with dementia.”
The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss by Nancy L. Mace and Peter V. Rabins, M.D.
“After 35 years, still the indispensable guide for countless families and professionals caring for someone with dementia.
“Through five editions, The 36-Hour Day has been an essential resource for families who love and care for people with Alzheimer disease. Whether a person has Alzheimer disease or another form of dementia, he or she will face a host of problems. The 36-Hour Day will help family members and caregivers address these challenges and simultaneously cope with their own emotions and needs. . .
“The central idea underlying the book―that much can be done to improve the lives of people with dementia and of those caring for them―remains the same. The 36-Hour Day is the definitive dementia care guide.”