Friday, February 8, 2013

This story is about Sunny, a 64 year old woman who was declining into Alzheimer's. For 15 years she had been a part of a group of women who called themselves the Women of Ancient Wisdom. Through the years as they met monthly, they built a sense of love, trust and connection. When the group started to notice that Sunny was becoming unable to host her meeting and less able to participate, the gals took notice and moved into action.

The group met and talked about how they could help her, as they didn't want to lose her and they wanted to keep her as a part of their lives. Friendships often collapse at the point when their friend is longer who she was. Family is expected to step up, but friends can slip away.

It takes some trial and error to find what will work to be with Sunny. What might work for a few weeks needs to be changed as she changes. The group would evaluate what they could do at any given time, then tweak their plans. One thing for sure at this point is that each friend takes one day a week to stop by to see Sunny. The friend decides what her activity will be and shares her experience with the others in the group and Sunny's husband so that everyone knows what is going on. One will take her on a walk, to the nail salon, plan a theme lunch keeping her comfort level in mind, or read her a book.

These friends are not just marking a moment in time, but keeping the moments going to be with Sunny and keeping her connected with them and the world. They are also taking this process one step further by telling their story to whoever will listen - hoping that as the word gets out people may rethink how they respond to Alzheimer's. This project is a work in progress. There will be a time when Sunny won't know them. My guess is that this creative group will figure out a way to support her and stay connected to Sunny's journey in all its stages.

This is an amazing and courageous group of women who are stepping up to the plate, facing new territory, and allowing whatever needs to happen to unfold - taking mark the moment to a new level.

1 comment:

  1. I am indebted to this group of courageous women: I am Sunny's husband, and without their help I would have had to leave my job to attend to Sunny's care during the day. They helped to identify what she was going through, and made a commitment to continue to be true to their friendship.