BY BETH CHILCOTT
I was a full-time caregiver for my husband, Jeff, for several years as he navigated the passageways of Alzheimer’s. The last year was especially hard as his dementia worsened by the month. Jeff stayed at home and went with me everywhere until it became overwhelming. A caregiver’s life is non-stop and constant. I regret none of it.
My husband of 48 years passed in March of this year. I threw my efforts to eradicating Alzheimer’s. I have been involved with The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement’s Move for Minds initiative for three years, but this year was particularly special. I threw my efforts into fundraising and raised over $19K to eradicate this dreadful disease. Because of my fundraising, I was awarded a 4-day trip to Skylonda Lodge, a special health-minded resort nestled in the coastal Redwoods, southeast of San Francisco. I had no idea what to expect.
Skylonda was an answer to a prayer I didn’t know I even asked for. I spent 4 days and 3 nights taking care of ME; something I hadn’t thought about in years. I teach exercise, so it wasn’t just the great workouts, healthy food, amazing lodging or nice massages that I enjoyed. It was truly the time for ME. It was the ME time when I walked in the trees and they spoke to me; the silence when I came to grips with who I was and now who I am. Jeff would have it no other way.
Skylonda affords you time for fun, for fitness, and for social interaction, but it also allows you time to explore your happiness quotation. By that I mean who you are NOW and what fulfills you. I came back home a calmer, more centered and happier person.
Caregiving is very stressful; sometimes we just soldier on cause we don’t know how to stop. Skylonda provided a true mind, body and spiritual experience that made me (and that will continually make me) aware of whom I am and what I will now be.