#WordsOfComfort

Finding a way to stay connected during this time of stress and social distancing.

During the spread of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, we are all feeling more lonely and disconnected. If you are living with or caring for someone with dementia that feeling is even stronger. Both family members and healthcare staff are feeling this stress too.

We began #WordsOfComfort to bring us together and share words of support, advice and comfort as we move through this time. We hope these words of comfort help each of us to know that we are not alone.

On one occasion, I was testing a participant in the Memory and Aging Project who had several physical impairments. Her caretaker was absent on the day of our appointment. While I didn’t meet the caretaker personally, her presence was felt all throughout the apartment: there was a framed photo of the two at the Chicago Pride Parade, the participant used an Amazon Alexa that the caretaker had given her for Christmas, and the caretaker’s warm and giving personality was a recurring topic of conversation.

It wasn’t until later on in the appointment that I learned the reason behind the caretaker’s absence: her sick family member had been hospitalized the night before. It became clear that this caretaker had been acting as a loving, surrogate family member to the participant, in addition to taking care of others outside of her work.

So many caretakers, like this one, go the extra mile. They don’t simply “wipe their feet at the door.” They carry their work with them, touching the lives of those in need, and forming meaningful bonds along the way—all this on top of the challenges they may be facing in their personal lives.

To this caretaker, and all the others, we owe an endless amount of gratitude.

The caregivers at Without Warning are heroes to me because they show such strength and courage in the midst of a devastating disease. And they do this every day without time off. They have to face new challenges and obstacles and still manage to move forward. They not only support their loved ones but others in the group. It is important to me because as a counselor I truly believe the true heroes in life are the ones who find the courage to endure even when life can get really hard.

As this crisis evolves I think often about the caregivers of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. One of the great qualities you all have is that of adaptation as we have all learned how to do that over time. Your abilities and strength will get you through these times. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. ❤️ #CAREGIVERS STRONG