Support Group Fail

Beware what you share as a caregiver with The Alzheimer’s Association. The one on one counseling may seem helpful and supportive but it was aggressively used against me and may damage my relationship with my mother. The person who offered advice and support has called Adult Protective Services regarding my mother’s driving, tearing the process out of my hands while possibly flushing my mother’s dignity down the toilet, rather than allow me to proceed with the plan she and I worked on during our meeting. This is a deep and unforgivable betrayal. For my and my mother’s continued safety, all communications with this person/organization are now in writing and as soon as this crisis has been surfed, there will be no further contact between me and this organization.

I should have known better. At one of the many support group meetings I attended over the last two months, a woman shared a very similar story. The difference was that her parents are in a far more delicate situation. The Alzheimer’s Association’s actions damaged her tenuous relationship with her father who cares for her mother in another state. He is now less likely to accept help due to the wounding of his pride. My acquaintance is still trying to fix the damage.

Support is defined as: to promote the interests or cause of; to uphold or defend as valid or right; to argue or vote for; to assist or help.

At first the support services offered by my county seemed incredible. I have come to realize they are geared to steer the caregiver, by force if necessary, to provide care, make decisions/choices according to a prescription that is not shared, upfront and outright, with the caregiver. There are multiple agencies involved in this. The Alzheimer’s Association seems to be the ‘bouncer’ in this equation.

I have exited from the support groups run out of a local senior center (2), the offer of a one on one personalized care plan from my county’s senior services agency that would be provided by the moderator of the support groups (made just yesterday ~ interesting timing) and, of course, the one on one support from the Alzheimer’s Association. These agencies work closely together, refer to speaking to each other and obviously are agenda driven. Rather than letting a caregiver know they have grave concerns, they bring in the Alzheimer’s Association representative who then lowers the boom.

It’s really a shame because the information offered by the Alzheimer’s Association is a godsend for those of us who find ourselves as protectors and care providers of loved ones with cognitive challenges. However, I will not have my own words used against me and my mother again.

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