On Sunday March 23rd, an annual event called Women in Focus was held at the Court Square Theater. Each year the event focuses on women in some aspect. This year they concentrated on female caregivers such as women who care for their aging parents.
Alzheimer’s disease runs in my mother’s side of the family. Both of her maternal grandparents had it and my grandmother was their primary caregiver. My maternal grandmother is currently living with Alzheimer’s disease and my mother is her primary caregiver, so it made me happy to see that Harrisonburg held this event in support of women like my mom.
If you know a woman who is the primary caregiver to their parent, you know how difficult it can be. It’s time consuming and heart wrenching, especially with Alzheimer’s. Over the past 3 years my mom has watched the woman who has always taken care of her turn into someone who needs to be cared for all day from the time she wakes up. I have watched Alzheimer’s completely warp the independent, intelligent, sarcastic woman I knew as my grandmother into a stranger.
I’ve always tried to help my mom as much as I can but the idea of this annual event, discussing how to maintain mental health during trying times, made me want to put more effort into being here as an escape from all of the stress for her. She has expressed worry to me about losing who she is within all of this craziness and I want to do my best as a daughter to assure her that she is so much more than a caregiver.
The three main ways she escapes from her stress are running, spending QT with my sister and me, and getting as much help as she can with her mom.
My mom found an escape from stress in running about ten years ago. Her and her best friend are always doing 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, and Spartan races. She has met so many running companions and it makes me so happy to see that she has a hobby that brings her so much joy.
The older I get the closer my mom and I get. We love spending time with each other as it’s a mutual stress reliever. I like to come home as often as I can because I know how much it means to both of us to see each other.
I love helping my mom anyway I can with my grandmother and I love seeing all the help she is getting from various family members and friends.
She is so much more than a caretaker and deserves time to care for herself and just be her!
She is hardworking, creative, spunky, and dependable.
She is a runner, a friend, a kickass saleswoman, and overall the strongest woman I know.
Take care of our Caretakers!
Harrisonburg’s 2019 Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place on Saturday, November 2nd, Lead the way to Alzheimer’s first survivor.