Supporting Families Struggling With Dementia & Alzheimer's
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have the uniquely awful quality of taking your loved one from you twice, caregiver Donna Garrett told us recently.
Lisa Roti, a caregiver and CircleIt team member, recently spoke with Jennifer Fink of the “Fading Memories” podcast to discuss how CircleIt’s patented technology helps families dealing with a loved one stricken with a neurocognitive disease.
Expressing Love Through Shared Memories
One of the many ways families express their love is through the collective memories they share with one another. Stories of family vacations, parties and gatherings, and even a special recipe can be a way that family members are able to connect with generations. As Lisa explained to Jennifer “There is a recipe that my mom made that we don’t have anymore. We all try to replicate it, and I think my sister’s version is the closest…” but the memory decline that Lisa’s mother experienced took that away.
Sadly, this is a common experience for far too many people. Globally, 50 million people are believed to be struggling with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia. Not often discussed are the struggles endured by families of these individuals. Many quit jobs to care for their loved one, usually because nursing homes and other options are either too expensive or in some cases, accelerate their decline.
For host Jennifer Fink, one item that was interesting about CircleIt was the ability to collect and share memories for future generations. “I know my mom wasn’t much of a planner, so I don’t think she would have taken the initiative. But I am, and I would have helped her record memories for the future.”
Sending Greeting Cards & More
At one point, Lisa explained the ability to send greeting cards with CircleIt, which was of special interest to Jennifer. “I actually make my own greeting cards and send them to people all the time. I have a pile of them on my desk right now. Pretty soon, the neighbors are just going to be getting them on their doorsteps.” As we have discussed before, the forethought of putting together a greeting card for a loved one and scheduling it to arrive on a special date in the future is one feature that sets CircleIt apart from other card delivery services.
It can also have a positive impact on the mental health of friends and family. Imagine receiving a special message 10 years from now, created just for you that your grandparent took the time to create today.. The joy that these little actions can create is powerful and can be long lasting. As opposed to the superficial world of social media, greeting cards like this will be remembered and cherished for years to come.
The uniqueness of CircleIt’s Card Store gives our members the ability to not only choose from hundreds of beautifully designed greeting cards for any occasion, but also enables them to personalize the card with an attached video, written, or audio message. This means that a card sent on CircleIt can have something more heartfelt and lasting attached. Just think about being able to hear your loved one’s voice one more time, or see them wishing you a happy birthday. For many, this is a luxury they no longer have.
Caregivers Need Support Too
Caregiving can become a full-time job rather quickly, a fact many can attest to. Luckily, there are now resources available to help those that are acting as a loved one’s primary support. Podcasts such as “Fading Memories” exist to showcase the various ways caregivers can do more for their loved ones without burning out. In addition, there are many caregivers that have taken to social media to share their stories and build connections.
One of these caregivers on TikTok has over 300,000 followers and shares her journey with others as she cares for her grandmother. The @lifewithgrams account on TikTok has become a beacon for others to share their stories and provide support to one another. We were able to sit down with Kris, the woman behind the account for an interview during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month earlier this year.
CircleIt has been working closely to help caregivers connect and share their journeys with each other. Giving families a place to share memories and preserve them for future generations is one of the many ways CircleIt is being used by those with families struggling with Alzheimer’s and Dementia.