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Lessons Learned: One man’s journey as an Alzheimer’s caregiver

Lessons Learned JeanneJeanneMo found ways to help his wife, Jeanne, shown here, feel a sense of purpose and meaning in her life, even as the stages of her Alzheimer's disease progressed.

Part 4

When I finally accepted the fact that Jeanne’s children were not able to help me, I went about creating a service plan. I took a legal pad and drew a line down the center. On the left side Jeanne and I made a list of the losses she was experiencing and came up with quite a list. Then on the right we started, item by item, coming up with ideas to help with each loss.

For example, she mentioned having no purpose. I was able to get her a volunteer position at the local school where she would spend one hour a week reading to pre-school children. She loved this role and looked forward to it each week.

I arranged for a personal trainer to come to the house three times a week to help Jeanne maintain some muscle and balance. There was a peer counselor who came monthly and the two of them had wonderful chats. The Visiting Nurse came monthly. Jeanne would see a counselor monthly.

More and more we developed a wonderful support network. I posted on a huge calendar each daily activity she had, and each person who came would enter their follow-up appointment.

I also began writing my “daily love letters” which I taped next to her side of the bed, another to the bathroom mirror.

An example was, “Good morning, my beautiful angel. Today is Tuesday, December 9, 2006. Your friend Anne [her peer counselor] will be here this morning. I know how much you enjoy chatting with her.

“Later today Shellie [her personal trainer] is coming up here. You’re getting stronger every day.

“I hope you are as relieved as I to have our Christmas shopping behind us. [I made lists of each gift recipient and what gift she had chosen for them, and placed one in each room for her to see.]

“It sure doesn’t seem that we have lived in this lovely Colrain home for over three years. If you need me, my cell phone is 834-7374. Mo

“I love you more that all the stars in the sky. Our 30th wedding anniversary is coming up in March. We need to do something special… maybe a cruise?

“Today’s thought: Enjoy the little things in life, because one day you’ll realize they are the big things.”

I followed this format for many months.

How to contact Mo Grossberger

Mo Grossberger is available to speak to your group or for one-on-one counseling. He can be reached at 413-624-3954 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In lieu of compensation he asks that donations be made to either the Alzheimer’s Association or The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.