Alzheimer’s is more than a mere diagnosis for countless families globally; it marks the beginning of a life-altering journey that exacts a toll on their emotional, mental, and physical well-being. The role of a caregiver is demanding, requiring immense patience and empathy. It often involves witnessing a loved one’s cognitive decline, which can be heart-wrenching.
“There are times … my dad would wake up and knock on my door in the middle of the night and ask me, ‘How is your mom? You have any information about your mom?’ My mom has passed away for many years,” says Qi Zhen Louie, an In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provider who has taken CCA’s Alzheimer’s care training.
More than a quarter of the IHSS providers in the program take care of a parent with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. Like Qi Zhen, caregivers are often children, or even spouses or close friends, who step into this role out of love and commitment. And, often, they do so without the training necessary to help them adapt to the ever-changing needs of their loved ones.
The Alzheimer’s care training helped Qi Zhen understand the symptoms and stages of the disease. “Now, I am more patient, and it helps with my communication with my dad,” she says. “Before, as soon as he threw a tantrum, I felt very upset …But I learned from (CCA’s) teachers a lot, and also from the sharing of our peers, the students. After the training, I have a lot of positive energy. And I’m able to understand some things that I did not know before.”
(Note to reader: Qi Zhen did this interview with a Cantonese interpreter).