Ellen Lebowitz’s Caregiver Story

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Something was wrong.
“My mother, Ruth, has been living in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s for five years and I see her twice a week. It’s just devastating.

I realized that something was wrong when she was in assisted living. She started experiencing sundowning, and her personality changed. As a friend once told me, “Meet your new mother.” And now I just try to offer unconditional love and understanding. The changes she’s gone through are staggering.

She wasn’t sleeping, she was trying to leave the building, she started calling the police, and became aggressive with the nursing home staff. I had to visit morning, noon, and night because of her behavior.

But it also became clear that she needed touch – she needed someone to hold and kiss. The first time I touched her, she screamed. But then she grabbed my hand and kissed me. And it’s kind of odd, because growing up, she was not that affectionate. I guess you have to find the humor in these situations wherever you can find it!”

Ellen looked for help...
“Still, I was very confused. I had no idea what to do. I was doing a lot of research, but it wasn’t helping – I couldn’t get enough information. I started visiting different organizations for support, but every place felt sterile and it didn’t feel like anyone really cared.”

And – thanks to you – she found help.
“Then I discovered CaringKind. I remember signing up to attend CaringKind’s annual meeting presenting the latest research on Alzheimer’s. When I arrived, the line went around the building, and I burst into tears! All these people were there for the same reason! I stopped feeling so incredibly alone. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. I felt tremendous relief.

And now I believe that everything is manageable.

Having the right support makes all the difference. I read everything I can, and I go to every CaringKind event there is. And if sharing my story helps someone else, then I’m glad.”

You can hear the full interview on Caregiver/Storyteller,
CaringKind’s award-winning podcast. [Episode 8: If I Had Only Known]

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