Facing the Herculean challenges of caregiving requires all the strength you can muster, including spiritual strength. It has been our experience that caregivers who develop what we would call "spiritual intentionality" are better able to face these challenges and retain their joy and hope than those who seek to go it alone, fueled by denial, anger and resentment.
The message isn't to live in fear of what might happen. The message isn't to live in a state of terror and angst. For me, the message is simply to live. Now. Today. To share our gifts and our love and our fears and our vulnerabilities. To live to the fullest extent of who we are. All of who we are. It's all we have. And it's everything.
While group members grieve the changes that Alzheimer's disease has brought to their lives and relationships, they find that they are no longer quite so alone in facing life's daily challenges, losses and decisions. They are part of a new community of men and women who intuitively understand their struggle.
As I've watched my mother grow old I realize how little control we have about how long we are fated to live. I've changed my thinking about the goal of a long life. Quality of life is more important to me. And how much control do we have over that? Still, I hope I will have the kind of spirit and pride Mom shows the world despite her certainty that she has outlived her time.