LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Friday, Feb. 18 is National Caregiver’s Day and it’s a time to honor the people who care for others. Many never get paid for this work. It’s a labor of love.
Millions of those caregivers are taking care of loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s and may never know if their efforts are appreciated. That’s because the brain disease can rob people of their ability to express themselves and their feelings.
But one husband used music to tell his wife thank you.
Jim Loane lives with Lewy body dementia and communication can be challenging.
“Sometimes my brain just locks up again. It doesn’t want to let out what I’m trying to get out sometimes. But with Linda. Knowing what I’m trying to say, and she can put it together, so other people understand, you know, the fact that I’m not playing dumb, but I just don’t know,” Loane said.
Jim does know that he can’t get through a day without his wife and caregiver, Linda. Married more than four decades, they’re very close to their three grown children and grandchildren. But as so often happens with couples dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s life was getting lonely.
“And as your friends start realizing the card game isn’t going as fast as it used to, or maybe your loved one takes, you know, you go to dinner and you hear the same story three or four times during dinner. They have a tendency to start shying away so your inner circle becomes small. And as a caregiver, your circle becomes smaller because your loved one’s circle becomes small,” Linda Loane said.
Then the couple discovered the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health to help guide them through Jim’s declining changes and also widen their circle again and connect them with people who are on a similar journey.
Weekly music therapy has given Jim a whole new channel to express himself, especially to his wife.
“I was sitting home one day and I thought about Linda and what she does for me and I started writing words, not even thinking it would turn into a song,” he said. “There’s one line in the song and it says that the we is now you and I was talking about me the way and Linda is now you because you do everything for me. I can’t dole out my own medication.”
After months of rehearsing with therapist Becky Wellman, Jim sang his gift to Linda on her birthday. Words of love and gratitude for her sacrifices, strength, and commitment truly from his heart.
“This was just the man that I married 46 years ago that really had that kind of caring compassion that I know it’s in there, but I don’t always see it and it was nice to see it. It was nice to have him back for that amount of time,” she said.
“It was nice for me too, by the way,” Jim said.
If you’re a caregiver and looking for support, you can connect with the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health or the Alzheimer’s Association.