‘Sally’ hopes her words will raise awareness of the condition’s progression and how it impacts her life
Streamway Villa life enrichment co-ordinator Christina Doughty did a series of one-to-one programs this summer with a younger resident of the Cobourg, Ont. long-term care home who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
During these sessions, the resident, whom we will call Sally, dictated to Christina her thoughts on what living with cognitive impairment is like. Her words also illustrate how the condition’s progression impacts her life.
Sally’s goal is simple: she wants others to have a glimpse of what it is like to live with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and to understand how she feels about what she has lost and what fond memories she can recall.
“When we started doing this, she told me she wanted to raise awareness for anyone that is going through dementia or anyone who has a loved one that has dementia,” Christina says.
Sally also describes the empathy she has for new residents and how she understands their anxieties and fears.
During the coming weeks, The OMNIway will be featuring more excerpts from Sally’s story.
This is Sally’s story:
“Don’t talk about me as if I am not here!”
I’m still fighting. It is getting harder. I have gotten to where most people at my age would have their own place and not be in one of these places.
They tried to do what they can but it is too much on them. When I don’t see my sister, it means I don’t see my dog. My sister arranged for me to get pictures with my dog. This is my greatest treasure right now.
She put a lot of thought into it. Once you are in it here, you don’t get out. People don’t think about ending up in here until you’re in this mindset and space.
So many of us are coming, and if they don’t have some sort of indication as what to expect, it’s awful.
Friendships are hard as everyone is on all different levels. Some people don’t have the time. They’re doing the best that they can.
Christina says, “Some people don’t understand the disease process.”
Sally responds, “Yes, that’s why we’re doing it!”