INSPIRATION & HOPE

dementia awarenessreflections ceremonyAnnually our organization leads the state’s Candlelight Reflections ceremony. On the first Thursday of November, candle lighting ceremonies are held across North Carolina in honor of National Alzheimer’s Month and National Caregivers Month. To raise awareness, the Dementia Alliance of North Carolina hosts the ceremony in Raleigh and offers materials and support to other organizations interested in hosting their own event.

STORIES OF HOPE

“First of all, I must tell you what an incredible experience the Caregiver Conference was for my mom. She attended along with two staff members from the community where my grandfather lives. (She shared the information you sent me about the conference with them and they decided to attend with her!) She said it was incredibly informative and she wished she had known eight years ago what she knows today. The two staff members said it was by far the best continuing education experience they’d ever attended and will definitely go back each year.

But, the most important takeaway, in my opinion, was when my mom said she no longer feels guilt. This was huge for her! She understands now that she has and is doing exactly what is needed for him. And, that there is really no way to fully understand what dementia feels like. Today she understands far better than ever and feels less overwhelmed. For this shift, I’m incredibly grateful.” — Shelley

“My father-in-law’s dementia started getting really bad last year. My husband, who is retired from the Army and has never been to a support group or asked for any help in any situations, finally admitted that he needed to talk to someone. Due to his military background, he’s not comfortable discussing much of anything, let alone personal issues. I found AlzNC online and reached out to get information about a support group meeting.

We attended our first meeting in December. I wasn’t sure how my husband would react. He sat there the first hour just listening. I finally spoke up towards the last 30 minutes and that’s when he just took over and started telling everyone about his father. He had so much guilt having to lie to his father about putting him in memory care, etc. At the end of the meeting, tears of joy were flowing and we were hugged by many people.

I asked my husband on the way home how he felt about the group and if he’d go back next month. He said he’d definitely go back the following month. He’d learned so much from the group and felt so relieved to know other caregivers are going through the same situation.

I’ve since become a volunteer for the organization. AlzNC has been a blessing to both myself and my husband. We feel extremely comfortable at the support group meetings and plan to continue joining the group as much as possible.” — Lisa

“I would like to express the heartfelt gratitude of my family and me for the assistance you recently provided to us. About a year ago my father was diagnosed with dementia. As a family, we’ve all come to different levels of acceptance: my mother, as the primary caregiver, and me as the secondary caregiver being most accepting, and my siblings to lesser and varying degrees. As my father has experienced periods of relative “stability” mixed with periods of instability and decline over the last couple of years, he’s still (we believe) in the first stage of dementia.

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His decline due to dementia has provoked a range in emotions from denial and disbelief to confusion, frustration and sadness in each of the family members.  My mom has had to take on responsibilities that she hasn’t had for a while (managing finances and coordinating home services and repairs) as well as some she’s never had (securing wills and Powers of Attorneys, filing taxes, etc.). Knowing that she’s getting to the point of needing assistance above and beyond what the family can provide, my brother and I sought out resources and came across AlzNC. We both realized that we had potentially hit the jackpot in terms of resources and guidance for the entire family.

I called the Raleigh office and spoke with a staff member. She was warm, engaging and very informative as far as what they have to offer and how they can help. I realized when we got the meeting that she’d taken copious notes from our conversation and, as a result, she was well prepared and had planned a meeting tailored to our family’s needs. We were able to schedule a meeting where we could all sit down and dial in a non-local sibling.

Honestly, my expectations for the meeting were pretty high based on my initial conversation. It was possibly rooted in my own hope for additional information and access to resources as we deal with my father’s dementia, but it was certainly rooted in the kind and professional demeanor of the staff as well their knowledge of what we’re dealing with.

They not only answered all of our questions but they also validated all that my mother has been doing correctly and offered continued support to each of us. For my mother, a normally guarded and private person, to open up to the degree that she did during that meeting spoke volumes to my siblings and me about the level of trust and comfort that she felt.

As we were leaving the meeting, we had the chance to speak with a dear volunteer who offered the same level of compassion because she herself had been the caretaker of a husband with Alzheimer’s / dementia. My mother really appreciated seeing first hand that she is indeed, not alone.

Thank you to the staff, the Board of Directors, the sponsors, the volunteers and the community for supporting such a wonderful organization.  It is truly the hope that we needed that day and going forward. With sincere appreciation.” — Linda

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