When someone suffering from Alzheimer's believes something to be true it is true -- in Alzheimer's World.
By Bob DeMarco
+Alzheimer's Reading Room
If you are like me, you probably felt like you could put everything you knew about Alzheimer's disease in a thimble the day you received the diagnosis.
And, if you are like me, you probably realized over time that you developed some skills over the course of your life that would help you to deal with a person suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
With this in mind, you will need to learn how to engage in new and different kinds of communication while interacting with someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease in order to remain sane.
You can use some of the communication tools you developed over the course of your life that work; and then, you develop new communication tools that you use only while in Alzheimer's World.
How long did it take before you could spell and prounounce the word cat? Well it might take a while before you learn how to use your newly developed communication tools effectively. C ah t.
Here are some things to consider right now.
When someone suffering from Alzheimer's believes something to be true it is true -- in Alzheimer's World. Really doesn't matter if it is true in Real World. Doesn't matter.
Alzheimer's World is the place you go to when you want to communicate effectively with someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
What a person suffering from Alzheimer's disease says might not be true in the real world -- as you know it. But, you are no longer communicating in the real world when you are communicating with someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Where are you? Hint: Alzheimer's World.
You could look at it this way. If you move to a foreign country and you don't learn the language you are going to feel bent out of shape a large fraction of the time. You might feel like you have a variation of Alzheimer's disease when no one understands what you are saying, and you don't understand what they are saying.
Since you are the one in the foreign country it is up to you to adapt. Sooner or later you will learn how to speak this new foreign language. Sooner is better.
In the case of Alzheimer's, the person suffering from Alzheimer's disease is now living in Alzheimer's World -- they cannot adapt and you should not expect them to adapt. This leaves one alternative.
You are the one that must adapt -- you are the one that has to change in order to communicate in the new foreign country you now live in -- Alzheimer's World.
Of course, you can continue to communicate in the way you always have. You will probably feel bent out of shape a large fraction of every day.
If this is happening, I suggest you start banging your head against the wall -- ten times a day should do the trick. Do it. I believe before long you will say, something has to change. It won't be hard at that point to say to yourself -- that something is me.
Keep this in mind.
When someone suffering from Alzheimer's repeats the same question for the tenth time, you'll learn once you make it to Alzheimer's World that they are asking you the question for the first time -- each time.
Let me make this simple. You might be hearing it for the tenth time, but they are asking it for the first time. If they remembered they just asked you, they wouldn't ask you. Tip. They don't remember they asked, and they don't remember your answer. Why? Hint: Alzheimer's World.
If you let repeated questions or off the wall Alzheimer's behaviors bother you -- Start banging your head against the wall. I guarantee you alternative solutions will start to sink in sooner or later. Don't trust me on this, go bang your head against the wall.
When you experience the same problem over and over, each and every day, you have to try and figure out a solution. If all you can do is complain or vent about the same thing over and over -- go bang your head against the wall. Ten or eleven times.
Don't worry, keep banging you head against the wall, pretty soon you will become adverse to banging your head against the wall. You will then come to a very simple conclusion -- my head hurts, something has to change and that something is me.
If you are finding it difficult to deal with problems, or if you can't figure out a solution to a problem, you might consider joining a really good Alzheimer's support group. This is a good place to go for insight and advice about Alzheimer's.
You can also ask for insight and advice from the Collective Brain of the Alzheimer's Reading Room.
Or, you can just keep banging your head against the wall.
Make sure you alternate sides when banging your head against the wall.
You don't want to spend all your time explaining to everyone in the Alzheimer's support group why one side of your head is flat and the other side isn't. Actually, don't worry. I assure you many of them will smile and shake their head up and down when they see you for the first time.
You'll know right then and right there that you are in the right place.
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- Learning How to Communicate with Someone Suffering From Alzheimer's Disease
- Alzheimer's Communication Tip, No More Blah Blah Blah
- How to Listen to an Alzheimer's Patient
- How Do Alzheimer's Patients Die?
- Is Coconut Oil a Treatment for Alzheimer's Disease?
The Alzheimer's Reading Room Knowledge Base