Nick and Adele were enjoying life as parents of teenage girls when they started noticing changes. Adele was teaching school and Nick worked at IBM. Nick was only 53 years old when doctors diagnosed him with a form of dementia that strikes early and causes progressive changes in personality, language and judgment. Family could see that the Nick they knew and loved was becoming a different person.
In 2010, Adele’s long journey as a caregiver began; one which brought her to The Center. Each day brought new challenges. Initially, she continued to teach and was able to leave Nick at home. The few hours of visits from The Center’s volunteers provided comforting support. Then over the years as Nick’s disease progressed and multiple care options failed, Adele began to rely more and more on The Center.
“When Nick goes to the doctor, he may get medications that can help; but not support for how to make it through each day,” said Adele. “It’s having friends, family and The Center visit and give care that makes the biggest difference.”
The Center’s Caregiver Support Program helped facilitate meaningful and creative activities for Nick and volunteers to share. Together, Nick and volunteers gave back to the community by delivering Meals on Wheels and offering help at Guardian Angel. While this type of support is no longer possible, The Center continues to help Adele and Nick in other ways. Adele retired and provides most of the 24-hour care for her husband who is now 65. Her breaks come from the home visits that volunteers provide and the few hours she gets to spend by herself when Nick attends Prelude, The Center’s monthly volunteer group respite.
Adele says The Center “has greatly enriched both our lives, I feel more “normal” having others share my world.”
The Center has been a resource to caregivers for over 25 years. Getting people to the doctor, providing respite, and helping them to keep their loved ones home as long as possible. It is critical that we share the world of caregiving. All over Wake County, families are struggling to take care of themselves while caring for those they love. If it is not you, someone in your neighborhood has a similar story.