Bob DeMarco Alzheimer's Reading Room

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Alzheimer's "More There"


Thanks to some good advice at the right time and some positive reinforcement I soon started learning there was "more there".....
By Bob DeMarco


In his article, "I Remember Better When I Paint", Max Wallack stopped me dead in my tracks when I read these two words -- "more there." He managed to give me a new perspective on something I have been thinking about and trying to do for years.

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I consider myself fortunate because I learned early on to let my mother do every thing she could do. More importantly, to stop doing everything for her. Frankly, doing it for her was easier. This was important advice -- let her do it.

If I had not learned this lesson, I now believe that my mother would be doing next to nothing. I say this because I learned if you do it for them, sooner or later they will forget how to do things. Once they forget, they will never relearn.

Right before I learned this important lesson, I believed we were at the beginning of the end. I believed my mother was going right over the edge. That soon she would be laying in bed, unable to recognize me. It happened because I started buying her lottery tickets for her, and in a few shorts months she could no longer do it. This in spite of the fact that she had been buying lottery tickets daily for 25 years. This happened five years ago.

Thanks to some good advice at the right time and some positive reinforcement I soon started learning there was "more there".

I learned that the more we did the "more there" she became. I took her into the gym and the exercise cured her from falling. It also improved her mean spirited behavior. Not overnight by the way, it happened over time.

When we would go to the doctor my mother was usually in a very bad mood. She didn't want to go. When we left she was in a very good mood. I actually told our doctor, I would like to bring her here everyday. Soon this observation turned into a plan of action. I realized that bright light and socialization turned my mother into a very different person. A happier easier to deal with person. A person with a very different look on her face.

It went on and on. Make an observation, turn it into action, and walla "more there".

"More there" meant a better quality of life for my mother. Importantly, better quality of life fom me -- the Alzheimer's caregiver. "More there."

I started to write about this often. I wrote, there is more in their than you think. This meant to me that other parts of the brain were still working.

But then I read Max's words and I now conclude he has a better way of saying what I wanted to say and communicate. "More there."

Here is the complete sentence -- We need to help the Alzheimer’s person find things the person will enjoy, and they will become "more there."

We....help....Alzheimer's....person....find...enjoy...."more there." Key word I think -- help.
Max wrote -- Many families have negative attitudes, feeling that the person is 'no longer there'. It is important to realize that the person is always there. We need to help the Alzheimer’s person find things the person will enjoy, and they will become "more there."

"No longer there." I can see how someone would conclude this. Before "more there", there was almost nothing there with my mother. That was five years ago.

"Always there".

We all need to find the path to "more there."

Thanks Max.



Bob DeMarco is the editor of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. Bob has written more than 2,200 articles with more than 271,000 links on the Internet. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room