I’ve seen a couple of posts this week that have really touched my heart. Allan Vann and Vince Zangaro are on very similar, yet different paths. One of the things they have in common is their willingness to share their stories to raise awareness and bring hope and comfort to other caregivers.
Allan Vann is a talented blogger who has published hundreds of insightful, informative articles on his blog. He also recently began writing a column for the Huffington Post and was interviewed by CBS news last week.
Allan’s wife, Clare, was formally diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s at age 63, but had been experiencing signs for several years before that. Allan cared his wife at home before making the difficult decision to place her in a care facility. However, he learned that doing so allowed him to be her husband again, rather than her 24×7 caregiver, which was a true gift to both of them.
The CBS interview captures the pain of slowly losing a loved one to Alzheimer’s with a raw, emotional accuracy.
Although it was my mother rather than spouse that I lost to this horrid disease, so much of what Allan says rings true to me. The arguments were the most difficult – early on, we fought about everything, and that was so uncharacteristic of our relationship. So sad to think about it…
Vince Zangaro was just 29 when his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s ten years ago at age 62. He & his wife, Amy, are full-time caregivers and by sharing their journey, they help others to stay afloat.
Vince had a wonderful piece published on The Caregiver’s Voice this past week. One of the things that makes it unique is that Vince wrote it from his father’s perspective.
When I open my eyes in the morning, I feel scared. Where am I? Where have I been? Do I know this place? I look to the right, and the people there are sleeping soundly. I can’t remember who they are, but I know they love me and I love them; I feel safe.
In some ways, Vince’s posts and his videos make me miss my mom even more, but mostly they remind me of all the happy times we shared even as she fell further into the clutches of Alzheimer’s. His words also illustrate how having a loved one with Alzheimer’s changes our lives, and how that often results in us becoming better human beings.
One of his recent Facebook posts provided a simple, yet invaluable tip, in such a heartwarming way.
“I have learned when giving dad a hug to have it last a minute or longer. After the 60 second mark you will start to see him grasp the moment. It doesn’t always take medicine to help someone you love.”
And then there’s this video that makes me smile and cry at the same time… if it was possible to make a 3-minute video that defines love in its truest form, this is it.