Sep 4, 2011

Dotty on the Meaning of NO in Alzheimer's World

There is another dire consequence of the word NO in the Alzheimer's lexicon. I mean who wants to hear the word NO all the time...

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Dotty on the Meaning of NO in Alzheimer's World
Dotty
95 years old
It is not unusual for a person living with dementia to say NO. NO, when you ask them if they want to do something.

The word NO stops most Alzheimer's caregivers right in their tracks.

I know what this feels like, I stopped and gave up when Dotty said NO for years.

I stopped even though I knew that Dotty didn't mean NO. I stopped even though I knew if I could get Dotty to do what I wanted to do, she would enjoy it.


Subscribe to the Alzheimer's Reading Room
Email:

The worst part of accepting the word NO in our case was simple, I already knew that if I could get Dotty to engage in activity she would be happier, "more there", and easier to deal with that day.

NO is a killer word.

There is another dire consequence of the word NO in the Alzheimer's lexicon. I mean who wants to hear the word NO all the time. It is a negative word. But, it doesn't stop there. Often when a caregiver accepts the word NO, then they don't get to engage in the activity they are suggesting. Sometimes they just stay home when the Alzheimer's patient tells them, I don't want to go. NO.

It is at this point that Alzheimer's caregiving can become depressing.

Dotty often startles me even though she is in the moderate to severe stage of Alzheimer's and scored 14 the last time she took the MMSE.

The following interaction took place back in June.

As soon as we neared the pool, Dotty started. I'm not going in the pool. As we were trying to decide whether or not to go into the pool, Dotty continued to say, I am not going in the water.

On the way out Dotty wanted to know why we didn't go into the water. I said to her, because you said NO you weren't going into the water.

Dotty then said, "you know when I say NO that doesn't mean anything, its just the easiest thing to say".

So there you go, right out of the mouth of a person that has Alzheimer's. NO doesn't really mean NO in Alzheimer's World.

It is just the easiest thing to say.

Related content.
Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 3,811 articles with more than 306,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room