An Alzheimer’s support group is like Alcoholic Anonymous except we begin with, “my mother has Alzheimer’s” rather than “I’m an alcoholic.”
I was encouraged to attend a free Alzheimer support group to learn as much as possible about the disease. Though I did want to gain knowledge, I was leery. I watched television and have a preconceived idea of support groups.
In the shows, there’s the sarcastic, outspoken member of the group. He or she especially enjoys insulting the timid. Meanwhile, the reserved, quiet member only occasionally offers off-the-wall comments.
With reservations, I attended my first support group. Like the television shows, there are some regular attendees, but others come and go. Also, there are numerous personalities at different stages in their dealing with their problems.
The television shows are intended for entertainment, so the characters have quirks. Similarly, we have some, too. In the support group, we were all dealing with a loved one with dementia. So, we could all learn from each other while, at the same time supporting and encouraging one another. It proved to be extremely helpful.
I remember the week I was extremely frustrated with caring for my mother. I explained it to the group as “Soon you may see me on the television news, on a roof with a gun.” The flood-gates opened, and everyone shared similar feelings. One person commented, “I’m glad I’m not the only one.” We all shared and felt better by the end of the session.
Of all the cast members on the television shows, I’m most like the sarcastic member. Though I don’t say it out loud, I think, “Suck it up buttercup” when I hear people share (whine). But, upon finding myself in a difficult time, I found it helpful to share. After that, I was able to empathize more with those in similar difficulty.
So, I have found emotional help in a support group, and hopefully, my attendance is helping others. I have gained knowledge about my mother’s disease as well as tips for her care. Sometimes we need help as in the story of Joshua and Moses.
In Exodus, we see the story of the Israelites fighting a battle against Amalek. As Joshua was battling in the valley, Moses was holding his rod in the air. While Moses was holding it up, Israel was winning; but when he lowered the rod, the army was losing. Following is the account from Exodus:
But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus, his hands were steady until the sunset. Exodus 17:12 NASB
Aaron and Hur held his arms up when Moses was too tired. By sunset the Israelites were victorious. In like manner, we must support others when they need it, and we must allow others to help us when we are tired. Even Moses, who was anointed by God, grew tired and needed help.
Participating in a dementia support group is helpful. I find consistent attendance helpful though progress may seem slow.
©Copyright 2018 Ron Milburn