don’t waste your time hating alzheimer’s disease

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dont-waste-your-time-hating-alzheimers-disease-2

“Someone asked me the other day if I hated Alzheimer’s disease,” wrote Vince Zangaro on his Facebook page.

Besides being the primary care partner to his father, whom he calls Pops, Zangaro is a musician who is the main driver behind the Alzheimer’s Music Fest. His posts and videos documenting the loving care he and his wife Amy give Pops inspire thousands.

“I told them that for the first several years it was a battle,” Vangaro wrote on. “I realized that if I continued to hate Alzheimer’s that I would reflect that anger onto my father. I decided to build a relationship with the disease so I could continue to have one with my dad.

“It’s not like we do not get angry but anger only gets you so far. Pops and I have had a relationship with this disease going on thirteen years. To accept and not hate has made our family much more at peace. This is just where we are at in life.

“Each of us has to do what we have to to find a sense of clarity through this journey. So do I hate Alzheimer’s? No. It is a part of my father and I love him with all my heart. We accept this and don’t spend our time hating, we rather spend our time loving the moments we have.”

I went through the same kind of transformation that Vince Zangaro describes here. Although he was in his early thirties and I was in my late fifties when it happened, I discovered the same truths that Vince, Amy and Pops did. There’s no point hating Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. It’s so much more sensible, productive and enriching to spend your time and energy loving the people who live with it, and helping them engage life for as long as they possibly can. The rewards for everyone are priceless and immeasurable.

Here’s the Zangaro family in action:

 

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6 Comments

  1. I am new at this. Maybe a couple of years. Don and I have been married for 63+ years and are in our 80’s, so as I try to take care of him, I find I am beginning to get forgetful myself. So far I do everything just about around here, it is not easy. A lot of stuff just goes by the wayside. I am also an artist and am still painting, my hobby, you might say. I love to paint portraits for people, no charge, just a donation. I have taught art for 25 years and just retired to take care of Don full time. The things each of you have said I am trying to put into pratice. Though at times I do get aggrevated as he is no longer the man I married, he is getting more childlike as time go by… the Dr told me this would happen… I do not wish to put him in a home, as I promised the Lord I would take care of him as long as He gives me strength.. thank you for your input…I will check back to see how things are going,
    hugs,
    Barb

  2. Lorrie Beauchamp on

    What a beautiful video – I was in tears just a few moments in. This is the “frame” that fits around any picture of Alzheimer’s. We need to embrace it for what it is, and wholeheartedly reject the stigma. I can still remember when being physically disabled caused a great deal of shame and hate in our society. It’s all based on fear, usually the fear of having to deal with it ourselves. Yet we sincerely admire people who overcome disabilities (think Nick Vujicic, or Zach Anner) In fact, these individuals are not overcoming the disability, they’re overcoming (and trying to change) society’s reaction to it. What kind of courage does it take to stand up and admit to the rest of the world that you’re flawed, but that you’re OK with being flawed? That’s the courage we need. It’s OK to have Alzheimer’s, it’s OK to have a fading memory, it’s OK to lose your connection to words, it’s OK to forget how to tell time, it’s all OK…. it is what it is. Love lives on.

  3. After reading this, i thought about what it was like when we got the final diagnosis. I already felt that it was but, untill you know for sure you keep hope.

    So do I hate Alzheimers? Yes!!! It is a terrible disease with no cure. So what is there not to hate?

    In saying the above I never focused on the disease. I excepted the diagnosis and focused on Deb. What else could i do?

    My focus was/has always been for Deb before so why would it be any different now that she has Alzheimers. I take care of her now 24/7. I do everything in my power to make life for Deb as good as i am able to provide!!

    I learned to live in her world. Learned to fined the good times there as well as enjoy the moments that she visits our world before (brief as they may be)!! We definitely have some really hard times too as all do when dealing with Alzheimers.

    Alzhiemers is part of Deb now so no i don’t hate but, as stated above my focus is were it belongs, loving, engaging and helping my beautiful wife know that she is not alone!! Not to be afraid and that i will always be there to comfort her.

    • Wilbur, I understand where you’re coming from. It’s easy to hate the disease, and I know how much you love Deb. I have never hated the disease. I see it from another perspective. There is also no cure for life. We all die. Some of us sooner than later. Some of us as infants or toddlers. Some before they even have a chance to breathe.

      You are an exceptional person and you and Deb are so lucky to have had a life together and to STILL have a life together even though it’s very hard now. You are doing an amazing job which I can’t imagine doing alone as you do. It’s a miracle. Some of us need to be reminded <3

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