Jessica’s Story

When my mom was diagnosed with dementia back in 2013, I was in my early twenties, and my younger brothers were teenagers. We didn’t know anything about dementia, and this was a difficult time for us. My dad was my mom’s main caregiver and the rest of us didn’t fully understand all the changes she was experiencing.

My family and I didn’t address my mom’s diagnosis. I remember going over to my parent’s house one day about five years ago and asking my mom to write something for me on a card. She didn’t know what to do, and I realized she no longer remembered how to write. This was the moment it hit me. Dementia was really affecting my mom’s life – our lives.

I learned about the Alzheimer Society through an educational workshop being held in 2019. I was struggling so I decided to attend to get more of an understanding about what my mom was going through. It was eye-opening. That was the first time I realized what dementia would mean for my mom and what was going to happen as she progressed. After this, I went down to the Society and spoke with Beth, a Client Support Coordinator. She listened to my whole story and gave me even more information.

My world changed a lot when my dad passed away. My family and I stepped in to care for my mom. She progressed rapidly, especially after my dad was gone. She’s been living in long-term care now for a few years and I visit her all the time. I’ve grown a lot through this whole experience. I’m very involved with my mom’s care – which is something that I wouldn’t have been comfortable with just a few years ago.

Dementia is the longest and slowest goodbye. You’re going to go through many different chapters and scenarios, and you have to find support to help you. You may feel that people don’t understand, and unless they’ve experienced it too, they often don’t fully get what you’re going through. That’s why connecting with others, connecting with the Society, is so important.

What are some tips you would give to others experiencing dementia?

  • Talk about what you feel, even if it hurts.

It feels good to let things out. Try to find that support, someone or somewhere you can share without judgement. The Alzheimer Society is a great place to start.

  • The earlier things can be addressed, the better.

In my experience, I think if my siblings and I had done more in the beginning and helped care for my mom more, we would’ve had an easier time understanding and accepting dementia.

  • Reach out when you need support.

Whether that’s the Alzheimer Society or confiding in friends and family, reaching out and asking for help benefits both you and the person you’re caring for. You both need that support.

  • Keep your brain active and healthy.

If you are caring for someone with earlier signs of dementia, try things like brain puzzles or games to keep the brain active. Leading a healthy lifestyle also ties into brain health – it all connects. Looking back, I wish this was something I could have done more with my mom.


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