Dear Friends of CaringKind,
You never forget the moment you learn that your loved one has Alzheimer’s disease. For me, the call came on a cold January afternoon. I was 22 years old and studying in a coffee shop when my parents called to tell me the news: my 55-year-old mother had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. It was a call I never expected. I felt immensely lost, confused, and scared — for me and my brother, our family’s future and, most of all, my mother. How would we ensure mom received the best quality of care for her best quality of life? How would we become caregivers for the woman who’d spent her life caring for us?
And then there are the calls you make and receive that offer a different type of remembrance: The comforting voice that supports you, provides you with resources, and helps you grow into a caregiver. I placed my first CaringKind Helpline call in 2009, shortly after my mom’s diagnosis. That call gave me the gift of a knowledgeable professional on the other end of the line who listened to the nuances of my struggles, fears, and hopes for my mother’s care. And then put those hopes into action.
Since 2009, CaringKind’s 24-hour Helpline has helped me to help my family. I found a support group for young professionals. I was connected to a network of resources to prepare me for caregiving. I was introduced to the CaringKind Junior Committee and the positive space it offered where I could share stories and support those who, like me, were impacted by the disease. And though my parents lived in North Carolina, CaringKind helped me find support and resources there, services that benefited my family and helped us make the difficult decisions.
Many of us are all too familiar with the tough calls: deciding care can no longer be offered at home, selecting a nursing home, identifying high-quality care, carrying out end-of-life wishes with respect and dignity. Because of the many calls I’d already made to CaringKind, I felt more prepared, competent, and supported when my family faced those decisions.
On August 15th, 2015, my mom passed away at the age of 61, in the arms of her husband, her daughter, and her 20-year-old son. This is the devastating reality of Alzheimer’s disease: there is still no cure. But there is care, and support to ensure our loved ones receive the best care we can provide in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
My mom’s spirit could light up a room with a glow matched only by her smile. Her generosity was matched only by her compassion. And in the end, her kindness was matched by her care.
I’m proud to support CaringKind and the world they have helped me create: one where those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are cared for with kindness and compassion. I support them so families can access the resources that made the journey a bit easier for my family. I support them in memory of my mother, in honor of all of those who cared for her, and in hope for a world where daughters and sons, husbands, wives and partners, friends and caregivers won’t have to make these calls. I hope you’ll join me.
President, Junior Committee