Guest Blogger Carol B. Amos
My brothers and I were caregivers for our mother who lived with Alzheimer’s for over 11 years. She lived alone when we began to notice a decline in her memory and her ability to take care of herself. We sought out a diagnosis and treatment and worked with community resources to support her desire to remain in her home. But we eventually moved her to assisted living and then to a memory care facility near my home where she passed away in 2014. I could not have survived this journey without my brothers and my faith in God.
My mother was my living example of what faith in God can do. She was a devout Christian and a deaconess in her church. As Mom lost her memory, she never lost her faith. Mom’s strong faith encouraged me. She was a constant reminder of the meaning of faith and the power of God. She helped me to see, that at this stage of her life, all she needed was love.
I had to become more effective managing the challenges of caregiving to be there for my Mom. I increased my knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease, spoke with other caregivers, and asked God for patience. I learned from our deacons. I attended a glorious church ceremony that elevated senior deacons to emeritus deacon. Each deacon was introduced with the favorite Scripture he or she used when confronting persons who were experiencing illness or death of a loved one. As a caregiver, I had to be trained and spiritually prepared to handle a wide range of emotions such as frustration, guilt, fear, and mental fatigue. I usually relied on the words or songs from the gospel radio station in my car to comfort myself. But then I became more proactive and like the deacons, sought out a Scripture or song to have at my fingertips. The Scripture and song along with prayer helped to manage my emotions in a positive and encouraging way. For instance to help my patience, I looked to Romans:
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:” (Romans 5:2-4)
I may have hummed “He Looked Beyond My Fault (and Saw My Need).”
“Amazing grace shall always be my song of praise
For it was grace that bought my liberty
I do not know just why He came to love me so
He looked beyond my fault and saw my need.”[i]
I was not a perfect caregiver, but God looked beyond my faults. I had to look beyond my faults, beyond my impatience, beyond Mom’s illness, beyond her disruptive behaviors, and understand and meet her needs. My faith equipped me to give Mom the unconditional love that she needed and deserved.
[i] Dottie Rambo, “He Looked beyond My Fault (and Saw My Need), ” John T. Benson Publishing Co., 1968.
Carol B. Amos started her Alzheimer’s journey when her mother started having memory problems. Carol has immersed herself in Alzheimer’s education by reading and attending conferences, workshops, and support groups. She is now a CARES Dementia Specialist and has a passion to share her message of H.O.P.E.
Carol is a Cornell University graduate and retired after a thirty-five-year engineering career with the DuPont Company. She is active in her church (usher board and youth, women’s, and senior’s ministries). She is married to Alvin and enjoys tennis, travel, and gardening at her home in Delaware.
Purchase her award-winning book H.O.P.E. for the Alzheimer’s Journey: Help, Organization, Preparation, and Education for the Road Ahead at her website www.carolbamos.com or your favorite online store.