Apr 18, 2012

Alzheimer's and Bonding

Human bonding is the process of developing a close, deep, interpersonal relationship.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Alzheimer's and Bonding
Bonding with a person living with dementia. Bonding with a person who is deeply forgetful.

How much thought have you given to interpersonal bonding?

Are you actively trying to bond with your loved one who is living with dementia?

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When two people have known each other for a long time their lives intersect.

It looks something like this.

The section where the two circles intersect is the area of common experiences. The size of that intersection can be big or small. It is much bigger when two people bond. Of course, the shape and intersection of the two circles can change and move over the course of a lifetime.

When dementia strikes it can appear as if this intersection has been lost. The two circles might then look something like this.

Have you ever heard an Alzheimer's caregiver say, "this is not the person I knew"? I shudder when I hear those words. If they are not the person you knew, who are they? The Boogeyman (woman)? As you might recall, the boogeyman is a rather frightening imaginary figure.

So, if the person who you did know, is now the person you don't know, then who are you? Are you the person that they don't know?

For now I have a simple question. Is the person living with dementia trying to bond with you?

They follow you around, they call out your name when they can't see you don't they? They get nervous and confused, down right scared when you go away for a while, don't they?

So, I guess they still know who you are. In fact, because of your life experience with them, they are now relying on you more then ever. You might be the only person they completely and totally trust.

Try to remember, Alzheimer's is not about you. It is about the person living with dementia.

If you come to understand that the person living with dementia is the person you have always known. If you start listening to them. If you start trying to see the world through their eyes, you might actually end up forming a new and different wonderful bond.

It might look something like this.

More colorful, deeper and richer.

So you get to decide. Are you the person that the person living with dementia once knew. Or, are you no longer the person they once knew?

One thing for sure, if you don't know them, they can't know you.

You can decide to start listening to them. You can start thinking about what a person living with dementia is thinking and feeling. Look at the world from their point of view. Their perspective.

You can think about why they follow you around and need to know where you are. Is that a bad thing, or an act of love?

You decide.

Also see -- Alzheimer's World Two Circles Trying to Intersect

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 3,800 articles with more than 307,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room