My name is Cewzan Grayson. My mother, Myra, suffered from Alzheimer’s for 19 years. As her primary caregiver, I searched for ways to maintain her quality of life and slow the progression of the disease. Fortunately, we were able to participate in the Comprehensive, Individualized Person-Centered Management Program (CI-PCM) led by Dr. Sunnie Kenowsky as part of The Fisher Alzheimer’s Education and Research Program at NYU Grossman School of Medicine.
The CI-PCM program gave me the knowledge and confidence to act as an intermediary between my mother and medical professionals who often did not have the capacity to handle her dementia. Practical skills, such as how to keep her distracted while having blood drawn, ensured that the doctors could get the tests they needed to provide optimal care. Daily exercise and activities like painting, museum visits, concerts, crafts, music and games improved her everyday cognition and functioning, and helped keep her ambulatory and happy even as she approached her early 90s and the disease progressed. At one point, I applied what I learned in the program to help my mother learn how to walk again after a fall resulted in a broken pelvis. I also helped her regain her ability to swallow when the disease progressed even further. Above all, I learned how to “read” my mother’s emotional state so that I could determine how best to care for her.
I believe a cure can be found, but until then, we have to learn how to care for our loved ones. As a caregiver, I am extremely grateful to The Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation for financially supporting the CI-PCM program at NYU Langone Health, as well as raising money for Alzheimer’s research.