The alone of being an Alzheimer's caregiver really worked in my favor. There was no one around to tell me -- you can't do this or you can't do that. No obstacles. No one clouding my mind and creating doubt. This allowed me to Think Big.
By Bob DeMarco
+Alzheimer's Reading Room
I'm a thinker.
I never had any problem thinking big. I did have a problem from time to time figuring out how my Big Idea was going to become a reality.
The alone of being an Alzheimer's caregiver really worked in my favor.
There was no one around to tell me -- you can't do this or you can't do that.
No one clouding my mind and creating doubt.
This allowed me to Think Big.
In the case of caring for Dotty it was more a matter of one thing leading to the next. This was what actually allowed me to Think Big.
I took Dotty into the gym. She stopped falling. That was pretty big.
I also observed that on every single trip to the gym Dotty would complain, curse, and say -- I'm not going to do it.
I then noticed on the way out of the gym that Dotty was smiling, standing up straighter, and walking better.
When we arrived home Dotty was in a better mood and our day went better.
I starting thinking.
I thought, Dotty can do more than I thought. A lot more. I mean she was working out on the chest machine, the shoulder machine, and doing the stand up sit downs. Heck. I could not have imagined her doing that at 80 years old. Let alone at 88 years old when we started working out in the gym, and Dotty and I were living with dementia.
Soon instead of thinking she can do more than I thought, I reduced it down to "more there". It was easier to say and easier to think about it that way. More there. More there than I thought.
All of this encouraged me to Think Big. It also encouraged me to continue thinking; and then, to start thinking beyond the obvious. Pretty soon I had the Big Thought. I thought,
We will start living our life the way we always had.
As it turned out, this was one of my greatest of all thoughts. Please note. Implicit in this thought was the hidden message -- we are not going to allow Alzheimer's to dictate how we live, or what we are going to do.
I did have some failures or false starts on the way to living again. What did I do? I thought about it. Here is something I learned. You have to keep it simple. Simple really works well with a person living from Alzheimer's.
I read about Alzheimer's caregivers that were embarrassed by the Alzheimer's patients and how they acted or did things in public. Those caregivers were really concerned about what other people thought of them if you want to know the truth. I was too busy doing my own thinking to think about what other people thought.
Dotty did pee on herself in public once. Was I embarrassed? No. Was I embarrassed for Dotty? No. Besides, we just got up without any hubba bubba and walked out like nothing happened. I think that must have made us invisible.
Let's face it. Pee and poop are a part of everyday Alzheimer's caregiver life. Think about it.
The short of it all is that I kept noticing over and over that with Dotty there was More There.
I'm now surprised that I didn't realize this sooner.
I mean her short term memory was gone for sure. On the other hand, not so long ago she told me the name of the school she went to in 1922. At the minimum you would have to conclude there is something there. I mean she said it, didn't she?
I understand that many Alzheimer's patients are far down the road. Some go down the up staircase faster than others. I wonder to myself often -- more there?
My little Dotty could still read right up till near the end. Why? Because I had her read to me every day. I didn't think of this at the time, maybe I should have had Dotty write to me every day. Yeah, I wish I had thought of that. Well I just thought it. I thought that one for you.
We had this toy parrot -- Harvey. Harvey made me think.
Harvey reminded me daily -- More There. I think and believe that Harvey is an Alzheimer's caregiver. Or, maybe he is an Alzheimer's caregiver tool. Dotty seemed to think he was real, even though she knew he wasn't. Harvey was Dotty's best buddy and friend.
So now its up to you.
Are you gonna tell yourself -- they can't do it. Or, are you going to Think Big?
Are you willing to discover that there is More There?
Besides, do you have anything else better to do?
- What’s the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
- Are Alzheimer's Caregivers the Forgotten?
- Test Your Memory for Alzheimer's (5 Best Self Assessment Tests)
- Communicating in Alzheimer's World
- Alzheimer's World -- Trying to Reconnect with Someone Suffering from Alzheimer's Disease
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized Influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community Worldwide. The Alzheimer's Reading Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles, and the ARR has more than 343,000 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.To learn more about Alzheimer's and dementia visit the Alzheimer's Reading Room