Almost every day I am reminded of one of the most important things I learned about Alzheimer's caregiving -- Just let Dotty do it.
By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room
Just let them do it. I am referring here to a person who is deeply forgetful.
Lets reverse this -- Don't do everything for them. You might ask why?
First, don't do everything for them. If you do everything for a person who is deeply forgetful they will forget how to do it. Once they forget it is unlikely that they will be able to relearn how to do it.
Second, just let them do it. I learned first hand that a person who is deeply forgetful is capable of more, much more, than you might be imaging. There is more there than you can imagine. I relearn this constantly, and I have been at it for more than 8 years with Dotty.
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You have to trust yourself, and trust the person who is deeply forgetful.
Let's face it, your brain is going to try and trick you every time. Your brain will tell you, they can't do it. Anyone on this blog ever commented, "this won't work for me". And then commented later on, "it works".
How about Harvey the parrot?
Of course it is easy to trick yourself. They have a saying that goes around in the Alzheimer's community, it goes something like this.
If you have met one Alzheimer's patient, you have met one Alzheimer's patient.
This is supposed to mean -- every Alzheimer's patient is different. It also is used as a subliminal message to make it easy for you to "think and believe" just because something works for someone else, it won't work for you.
What the message really implies is, don't even bother trying, they can't do it.
Did you ever read something on this website and think that won't work for me? Well, if you didn't try it, I betcha a thousand dollars it didn't work.
Did you ever think, this won't work for us, but you decided to give it a try and it did work? Don't be shy.
One of the things you have to learn to become an effective caregiver is that there is More There.
This so called more there is elusive because from the time a person is diagnosed as being "deeply forgetful", your brain starts tricking you into thinking pretty soon "they" won't be able to anything.
See, it is your brain tricking you. Your brain.
Don't take the above too personal. I let my brain trick me for a while, just like most of us do.
In our case, Dotty girl started doing this and doing that and pretty soon I started to get the hang of it.
Here is one thing I learned. Dotty will constantly do something that I could never have imagined. Every time she does it I am surprised. Fortunately, these little surprises remind me over and over --there is more there.
Learning that there is more there is hard to do. I guess this explains why I have to relearn this over and over.
Hey, none of this is perfect. Sometimes you try something and it doesn't work. Then you think about it for a while. Pretty soon you get a new and better idea. Finally, something does work. Feels good doesn't it?
By the way, nobody bats a 1,000. Not even me, ;>)
Trust me, your brain is going to try and defeat you. Don't let it.
Just let them do it.
Okay, I gotta go, I have to go meet a brand new orange. It is really fascinating to me how every orange is different from every other orange.
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- About the Alzheimer's Reading Room
Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 3,461 articles with more than 397,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room