Remember This: Caregiving and Long-Term Illness

The Rev. Dr. Jade Angelica and lifelong Beacon Hill resident Medb Mahoney Sichko.

The Rev. Dr. Jade Angelica and lifelong Beacon Hill resident Medb Mahoney Sichko.

Let’s suppose your mother has Alzheimer’s.  You’ve found her a lovely Assisted Living Facility with an Alzheimer’s Unit and a view of the ocean—that eases your mind.  One evening, you visit her at dinnertime.  She’s sitting in the sunroom, waiting (as she explains to you) for your predeceased father.  What do you say to her?

Mom, Dad is dead.

You need more medication. Where’s a staff person? 

I’ll come back another day when you’re clearer.

I’ve been thinking about Dad lately, too.  Why don’t we go in for dinner and if Dad comes, I’m sure the staff will tell him where we are.  Tell me your favorite memory of Dad.

Here’s a tip from the Rev. Dr. Jade Angelica: communication with an Alzheimer’s patient resembles improvisational drama.  Your most important role is to make the other player look good.

With 5.2 million Americans now diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and that number projected to reach 7.1 million by 2025, the likelihood that this problem or something similar will become your problem is high. Perhaps it’s already your problem.  Fortunately, we have a marvelous resource—the Dr. Angelica and her book Where Two Worlds Touch. Although her experience focuses on Alzheimer’s, her book offers wisdom helpful to caregivers and patients dealing with any long-term illness.

This October, the Rev Dr. Angelica is coming here to Boston.  She will offer an interactive program on “Caregiving as a Spiritual Journey,” on Thursday, Oct. 16, from 6:45 to 8:30 p.m. at King’s Chapel Parish House, located at 64 Beacon St. in Boston. The event is free and open to the public with light refreshments served. Pre-registration appreciated; call King’s Chapel, 617 227-2155 or contact Betsy Peterson at [email protected] to register.  Rev. Angelica will also have books available for sale and signing.

On Sunday, October 19th at 12:30 pm, the Arlington Street Church will host a book-signing at its Hunnewell Chapel, located at 351 Boylston St. in Boston The event is free and open to the public, with lunch available. Contact Jeffrey Bouchard at 617-536-7050 or via e-mail at [email protected] to register.

Rev. Dr. Jade Angelica, founder and director of Healing Moments, is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School and Andover Newton Theological School.  She leads workshops and services throughout the country and offers spiritual direction for individuals and groups. Her most important ministry to date has been caring for her mother who died from Alzheimer’s in 2011. 

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