12 Things I've Learned About Living With Alzheimer's
1. Put your shoes on before you leave your room. You can throw your shoes away. You can't throw your feet away. I can't tell you how many times I found bathroom substances outside my bedroom. 
2. Grow thicker skin. It isn't personal and it isn't about you. Your loved one is doing the best she can do. Her former self would be mortified to hear the things coming out of her mouth. Or know that she would disrobe and sit in all her glory in the living room.
3. Others will be happy to give you advice on how you can do better or how you should be doing things differently. But not time. They can't or won't give you time. Perhaps it's because they genuinely don't have the time to give. Maybe they think you're doing a better job at giving care than they could. (Please don't believe this lie.) Maybe they feel inadequate. Maybe you haven't asked for help. (PLEASE ask for help!)
4. Telemarketers provide essential opportunities for adult conversation. Utilize them. There's a short window of opportunity to talk to telemarketers, so make it count! 
5. Nobody wants to hear about any of it. Tell it to the telemarketers.
6. Modesty is a foreign concept: nakedness will be the new norm. Bathing is perceived as extreme torture. Grow a thick skin and remind yourself that you are now the adult: she is the child. Tough love is TOUGH!
7. Words will fail. Sentences will be unintelligible. Your loved one will speak in a totally random language with no available translation. But if she loved music, she'll be able to sing her favorite songs. In English. In tune. And it will make her happy. Be thankful. Sing with her.
8. Greet each day in gratitude. I can't stress this enough. Be thankful. Keep a gratitude journal. See blessings everywhere.
9. Forgive often. Forgive completely. Let past hurts go. Holding on to that hurts you more than anyone else. Let It Go.
10. Remember it's still not about you... until it is. You'll need time away from the chaos, the heartache, the day-to-day insanity, so make it happen. Make. It. Happen. You can't give from an empty well; take time to refill your well.
11. You're not alone. It just feels that way. Find a support group that understands what you are living. If you can't get to an in-person group, find one online. And don't just lurk! Interact. Post comments. Ask questions. Be a helper and receive help.
12. People move on. Find the energy to maintain outside relationships or be prepared to forge new ones when you're no longer the caregiver. You'll probably have to reset your mindset. Your tendency will probably be to stay isolated, but don't do that. Find opportunities to be with people again: church, communtiy functions, school functions. Call a friend that you've lost touch with and go to lunch. It get's easier. I promise.

Want to know what else I've learned? Join me in my private Facebook group, Prayerfully Annointed


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