My Time in DC with USAgainst Alzheimer’s By Kamaria Moore-HollisDecember 26, 2016
Guest Blogger: Kamaria Moore-Hollis, family caregiver
Recently I attended the USAgainst Alzheimer’s conference in Washington DC. One of the focuses of the summit was ways in which Alzheimer’s affects women and communities of color, and I was invited to attend, network and share my experience. When my husband and I first arrived and attended the kickoff event, we were introduced to folks who had seen and been touched by the profile. I was told that my portrait video had been viewed at an earlier event and I felt slightly intimidated but also a little bit like a celebrity.
At our second day, we heard a lot from doctors and policy makers and learned a lot about current research, but the part I found most valuable was listening to the stories of individuals living with the disease. My mother’s cognitive level is not at a place where she can verbalize how the disease affects her, so it was really interesting for me to hear the experience of someone living with Alzheimers. Some stories were sad and some were funny, and the audience was encouraged to laugh throughout the pain. That way the disease didn’t win.
Unfortunately we were unable to attend the Lobby Day, but we were able to spend some time with a few guests after the “Out of the Shadows” Dinner. We shared drinks with Greg O’Brien and his family (Greg is an award-winning investigative reporter, diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s), as well as caregivers, some of whom had their care recipient with them and others who attended the event on their own.
We shared our experiences of first realizing that our care partner was struggling, how our family members and community dealt with diagnosis and how they reacted to each of our styles of caregiving. We laughed and we commiserated. All in all, I truly enjoyed the experience and was most grateful that attendees were able to find something in my caregiver profile.
Just to update everyone my mom, she is doing just fine. She is still living along, with the help of family and a daily visit from a PCA. We will be celebrating the holidays with dinner with family, and she is definitely looking forward to it. Happy Holidays to you all!