An Alzheimer's disease diagnosis can be devastating for a senior and their loved ones, but talking about what it entails may comfort both parties and help them understand more. That is the idea behind To Whom I May Concern, an interactive theater project in Stamford, Connecticut.
The project was created by men and women who have recently been diagnosed with a progressive brain disease like Alzheimer's, according to the project's official website. During performances, they share stories about their experiences living in the early stages of the disease to an audience of friends, family members and professionals providing Alzheimer's care.
The project was created by Dr. Maureen Matthews, a registered nurse who has worked with people who have Alzheimer's disease and similar illnesses, and their loved ones, for more than 30 years. As the director of the Early Memory Loss Program at a pastoral counseling center in Stamford, she has plenty of inspiration to put an end to the shame and embarrassment that tends to keep people quiet about their feelings during the illness.
One participant, Kathy, a registered nurse from Stamford, also speaks at caregiver support groups to help others understand the unique needs of people with the disease, the Stamford Advocate reports.
"I'm caught in the tension between remembering and forgetting," she said to the group at their recent meeting at Atria Senior Living on Third Street.