My inspiration comes from my dad, Abe Cohen, who had Parkinson's Dementia. Now, my husband Jim Calvin was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. His sister, Louise (also known as "Bit") is in a Nursing Home in Pleasant Grove, Alabama with it, and his deceased sister, Lula Mae from Cleveland, OH also had it.
I am inspired by all the amazing caregivers, staff and volunteers I’ve met through the Alzheimer’s organization in the Hudson Valley at Support groups, Memory Cafes, Musical Moments, ALZ Well Social Club and Wellness Retreats.
The Alzheimer’s Association (AA) provides education and support for those afflicted with the disease and their caregivers. They help us so much and provide us with the opportunity to build our own community because we are all going through the greatest challenge of our lifetimes for someone we deeply love!
Taking care of another individual is emotionally and physically draining while seeing them decline just cuts right through me. Caregivers must be ready for anything, every moment of every day, and must constantly learn how to address and do things they know nothing about!
I have embraced my journey as a caregiver. AA programming activities provided the vehicle for us to meet & support each other to create our own community. They provide us with the tools, knowledge and support we all need to survive this challenge. I have grown so much on so many different levels during this experience stretching in ways I did not know I was capable of. I am profoundly grateful for the AA & their support!
Learning and practicing mindfulness inspired me to name my team “To Enjoy Every Moment (TEEM)” with our sweethearts and/or other family members who have the disease. We are Team TEEM.
At Caregiver Meetings we hear, “Today is the best moment my loved one will have", because the reality of this disease is there is no cure right now. Being grateful and in the present moment, is what we have that keeps us all going.
As caregivers we must always remember to take care of ourselves first so we can help our loved one. We are constantly told this at Caregiver Support Meetings and also during conversations with friends. It really helps and I thank you for this important reminder!
COVID has taken this awesome challenge to unbelievable levels, as the isolation caused our loved ones to decline, especially when Adult Day Centers closed in March with no discussion of returning,
I'm leading the way by participating in the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer's®. Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.
It not only takes a Village to raise a child, it takes a community to help those afflicted with this horrible disease called Dementia that comes in 120 different forms. Therefore, one of the reasons why it is so hard to find a cure!
Please join Team TEEM to help us fight this disease and make our loved ones as comfortable as possible and provide them with a good quality of life. After all, isn't that what we all want for ourselves and our loved ones?
Please donate and/or walk with us (if you are able) to advance the care, support and research efforts of the AA.
Thank you for your support and in joining us in the fight against Alzheimer's!
Jan & Jim (J&J)