Ask Amy: A heartbreaking diagnosis changes everything

Dear Amy: My closest friend in the world was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer\’s at a relatively young age.

We met when we were new mothers, and while my family moved away after only a few years, we have maintained an incredibly close and meaningful relationship through all of life\’s joys and sorrows for over 30 years. She is my rock.

The friend who knows the good, the bad and the ugly. And viceversa.

And now I feel that she has regressed a little every time I talk to her on the phone, and our distance is too great for me to see her regularly.

How do I handle the inevitable changes? How do I let her know I love her when she no longer recognizes my voice? How can I maintain any kind of long distance relationship? I don\’t have a map for our last trip and it breaks my heart.

Any advice would mean a lot to me.

Thank you,

Left behind

Dear Forsaken: My first suggestion is that you should visit your friend in person as soon as possible. Book your trip today. Bring pictures to look at together, go for walks, listen to music, and just be there and enjoy your time together with gratitude.

I think it would be a good idea to book a room nearby, stay for a few days and keep daily visits short if that works better for her.

It can be mentally challenging and emotionally wrenching to be with someone whose memory is failing. Your friend may have good days, and harder days or mornings may be better than evenings for her. Don\’t stress her by trying too hard to elicit memories from her, but go with her flow wherever it takes you both.


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