In the very early stages of my mother's illness, she was angry, hard to communicate with and would often repeat herself.
In 1993, when she was first was diagnosed, I knew NOTHING about Alzheimer's so I attended as many Alzheimer's support groups that I could find and also became involved with the Alzheimer's Association where I gained a wealth of information.
First I learned, to listen instead of asking questions. My mother had lost her reasoning ability and there was no reason for me to agitate her or myself. I became patient when she would repeat herself countless times because I knew that the repetition was a symptom of her disease.
In the beginning, she was angry and would say, "My head's not right." I would listen and she would be comforted when I told her, "Mom we're going to see the doctor and I know he can help you."
She was angry that she had to take medicine and would put up a BIG fight. Then, one day I tried non-verbal communication. I walked up to her with my right palm up which had her medicine and held a glass of water in the left hand. I didn't say one word and she took her medication without argument.
I never thought of my mother as a victim.
I thought of her as a person who had unfortunately inherited the disease of Alzheimer's. I write about all of these experiences in my book, "Embracing the Moment: An Alzheimer's Memoir. Mother was sick for 11 years.
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Original content Barbara Pursley, the Alzheimer's Reading Room