These lyrics from Dan Fogelberg’s 1974 hit Part of the Plan may seem a little unusual as part of a message for the New Year but, as I was listening to the song during the holiday week on my commute to the office, (still one of my all-time favorites), I thought about how much these lines relate to this past year – two years really.  These are difficult times for all of us, but especially for those facing the daily challenges of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

As we’ve faced the COVID crisis, I think we have all developed a renewed appreciation for family and friends and how to truly value love and friendship.  For caregivers, simple moments of connection in the present with a loved one who may no longer share the memories of the past, mean everything.  These are moments to put aside what can no longer be and share in the treasure of the present – in other words, love when we can.

At the same time, caregivers often experience guilt, anger and frustration.  These feelings can be overwhelming and often impact physical and emotional health.  It’s okay to let go and express your sometimes-conflicting emotions.  Give yourself permission to feel what you feel – in other words, cry when we have to.

So, thanks to Dan Fogelberg, that’s my simple message to caregivers for the New Year – you’re doing your best in a situation that you didn’t ask for and can’t completely control. Take the time to love when you can and cry when you have to, be who you must and maybe …that’s a part of the plan.

On behalf of Alzheimer’s New Jersey, thank you for letting us be part of your families; helping to bring you support and services to live with Alzheimer’s the best way possible. And to our donors, we so appreciate your friendship and generosity that has enabled us to touch so many New Jersey families impacted by Alzheimer’s.

Wishing you and your family the very best for 2022.

Ken Zaentz
President and CEO

Part of the Plan written by Dan Fogelberg