In abundance of counselors there is victory.—PROVERBS 24:6 [NRSV]
My wife, Candy, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s after musical hallucinations prompted her to wander from home in the middle of the night. In the Caregiver Support Group I attend monthly, one man shared that his wife had begun to have hallucinations of people interfering with his care for her. From group sharing, we each knew that both of our wives were being cared for by the same geriatric psychiatrist. After the meeting we privately compared notes about the differences in our wives’ experiences and the balance of medications our psychiatrist was working with. We each came away with both more questions to ask and increased confidence in our wives’ care.
This conversation is a microcosm of what happens every month when the group meets. We recognize that we are not alone as we share this common journey. We also recognize that the specific path and pace of our journeys are unique to each of us. In the group, we do not have to explain what those who have not been on an extended caregiving journey do not always understand. When we feel confused by new challenges, we get the benefit of shared thinking and the experiences of those who are ahead of us.
We come from a wide variety of religious backgrounds, even skeptics. Prayers in the midst of crises and as expressions of mutual care are common and sensitively affirmed. When we dismiss, someone almost always says, “Wasn’t the room full of love today!”