Hello, my name is Cheryl Milne.
In 2016, I moved back to Powell River, BC, to be with my family. At the time, my Grandma was in Willingdon Creek, a long-term care home, and my dad was starting to show signs of dementia. Fast forward a couple of years, and I met my husband. Soon after we were married, his father was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia.
Over the years, I have watched both of our moms become caregivers to their husbands. While I’ve learned a lot about the caregiving process, I’ve also seen the toll it can take on one’s mind, body, and spirit.
Last year, my best friend Katie started showing signs of Early Onset Alzheimer’s at age 43. In January, she received her diagnosis. I was now a caregiver like my mom and mother-in-law.
Soon after being diagnosed, Katie and I started preparing for her future. Together, we went through and organized everything that we could.
We sorted through bits and pieces of Katie’s life and signed important legal, financial, and medical documents. These processes were already familiar to me from helping my family members previously. But as Katie and I worked, I was reminded of how challenging these tasks are for people.
I realized that what people need during these vulnerable times is a guide. Someone to sit with them to help complete any task. Someone to not just show them the ropes but to lift and build them up in the process; to allow them to find their version of self-joy in a challenging time.