Monday, July 17, 2017
Senior TV show to shed light on caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s
Photo Jacqueline Ramseyer/Bay Area News Group/April 20, 2017 Val Jeffery, right, is producing her fourth and final program in a series on Alzheimer’s for The Better Part. With her is longtime friend Michael Sullivan, who was interviewed and talks about caring for his late wife Patricia, who passed from Alzheimer’s back in 2015.
Sullivan, who lives in Windsor, England, found assistance in his longtime friend Val Jeffery, who helps produce “The Better Part,” a public access television show run entirely by a volunteer group affiliated with Cupertino TV Productions, based out of the city’s senior center.
Sullivan lost his wife, Pat, to Alzheimer’s in 2015, just three years after she was diagnosed. However, he believes she could have been diagnosed sooner if they had known the signs.
“We didn’t even think dementia until a little bit before it was diagnosed,” he said. “We’d had problems before but we put it out as just getting older, relationship gets a bit sour for a while and then it improves.”
Jeffery had previously done programs for “The Better Part” about Alzheimers, two in 2005 and one in 2010. Her aunt Ruby died from it in 2009.
She recalled going to visit Michael and Pat in Windsor in 2006, after her first two programs, and seeing some possible signs of Alzheimer’s in Pat.
“I could see a change where Michael couldn’t,” she said. “When you’re close with somebody, it’s hard to see. She wasn’t diagnosed until 2012. I was disturbed about the amount of time there was between 2006 and 2012.”
Sullivan began doing research.
“So when she died, obviously, I was going through a period of grief and thought, ‘Could I have done things better?’” he said. “So I started to investigate, and I spoke to Val about seeing these programs that she’d done on dementia. The more I looked at it, the more I thought back that maybe it could have been diagnosed a lot earlier.”
Jeffery said it was at that time she “decided it was time for program number four.”
“Michael wanted to do more and help the caregivers as well,” Jeffery said. “It’s such a cruel illness. We’re going to find out about Pat and how she progressed and what Michael’s done about it.”
Shortly after Pat died, Sullivan created an informational Alzheimer’s pamphlet that he has distributed to more than 1,000 homes in his Windsor neighborhood. It’s also in pharmacies, libraries and hospitals in the area.
“I decided, well, what can I do so that some people can benefit from what happened to Pat?” he said. “I wanted to help caregivers handle things a bit better. But first of all, you’ve got to spot that they’ve got it. So we decided to produce that leaflet.”
In the program, Jeffery and Sullivan will talk about Pat, and the struggles faced by patients and their caregivers.
“We’re looking back on everything now and seeing how we can improve; how can we give the caregiver the tools to be able to help their loved ones?” Jeffery said.
Sullivan said there are some key things he wants caregivers to take away from the program.
“I think the main thing is to be aware of their frustration,” he said. “They repeat things frequently; they can get very irritated about things. And the way you’re thinking is that they’ve lost their memory. But you don’t really appreciate the frustration they must feel. And that would make me handle things in a somewhat different way.”
Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by MERCURYNEWS
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