Stephene Moore, a nurse by profession, is married to former U.S. Representative Dennis Moore from Kansas’ 3rd District. The couple have been strong advocates for funding and awareness since his diagnosis in 2011 and we are glad to welcome her as a guest contributor to CareLiving.org
I have been the sole caregiver to my husband, who has Alzheimer’s Disease, for five years now. When I’m asked by family, friends and strangers, “How’s he doing?” I first take a deep breath and then respond honestly that he is declining, yet still able to manage his ADL’s. Usually that is followed by comments such as, “He looks great!” and “He seems fine!” Alzheimer’s is a very individual-specific disease which impacts everyone differently… including their caregiver.
The choice to continue working while being a caregiver has been both good and bad.
Good, because I enjoy what I do in my job and feel that I do it well, and to be honest, I need the break from life at home. The opportunity to escape from our real world of living as a couple with Alzheimer’s Disease looming constantly is what I need to help me face the times we do spend together dealing with all that comes with this disease.
Bad, because I feel guilty for not being beside him constantly and I am beginning to admit to myself and others that I am exhausted.
I have heard over and over that if I don’t take care of myself I won’t be able to take care of him. There is a saying, “You can’t pour from an empty cup.” By going in to my office and focusing on issues which don’t deal with Alzheimer’s Disease or the issues a caregiver deals with, I am allowed to recharge myself…to fill my cup!
For now, I choose to maintain this hectic pace of working full time and filling the role of caregiver because at this time it seems like the right choice for us.
Things change and with Alzheimer’s Disease, change can sometimes happen quickly – but for now the work at home and the work at my office balance each other out… for now.