Testimony

Brome-Missisquoi Caregivers Home

Thank you to Maison Gilles Carle and their outstanding staff for helping me to go from a lonely, dark place of fear and anxiety to a road where light and loves continues to shine.

My husband’s diagnosis of Alzheimer`s disease was a shock. The lack of understanding and support from family was devastating. The message seemed to be clear, this is your problem and you cannot rely on us, we have our life to live. Some comments were deeply disturbing, such as, “ I hope this doesn`t happen to me .”

I felt forced to go through it alone. In the beginning I did not share with others our situation. I wanted to protect my husband`s dignity. My background as an educator and having worked with visually impaired as well as immigrants should allow me to handle this on my own. I was confused and disappointed and even angry. How can I cope with this situation? It`s tough and I risk my own health, which I have always struggled to maintain.

An acquaintance told me about Maison Gilles Carle and I went to a first meeting feeling anxious to be saying what was really going on behind the usual veneer of responding “Great, everything is great” when asked “How are you”. Soon, I became very comfortable talking and listening to others who were managing similar situations. The compassion and support I received gave me the boost I needed to know that yes, I could do this. Gradually the light returned and I saw that with assistance I would manage. I participated in activities: cafe rencontre, conferences, psychosocial sessions and relaxation treatments. I felt strengthened to carry on. I was being taken care of so I could take care of my husband. It was a blessing to both of us.

All in all, love for my husband has grown deeper, true friends is quite obviously separated from those who are not. Inner strength, compassion and humanity in general have deepened. Many positives can come from travelling a difficult road when one is not alone and vulnerability and humanity is shared.
My creative outlet, working with my hands, transforming energy from fear to love has also been valuable.

Linda Santo