Of course, Alzheimer's World being what it is, it's not always the right thing to say.
By Claudia Marshall-Apers
Things were getting “curiouser and curiouser”.
Then I found the Alzheimer's Reading Room and discovered that there was another world called Alzheimer's World but I didn't fully understand how to communicate there.
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I knew for sure that having a conversation with my mom was at times a tricky business.
In Alzheimer's World, it seems that subtle little differences in what the caregiver says mean a lot as far as the response from the “caregivee”. If you get it wrong, it's kind of like when NASA miscalculated a trajectory by a few millimeters and missed the planet they were aiming for completely.
It's tough to get it right – if you go into Alzheimer's World all the way you become lost and confused yourself. If you stay outside, the Alzheimer's caregivee becomes angry and tells you you're crazy.
In trying different things, one day my mom was telling me something straight from Alzheimer's World (I don't know, she saw someone who has been dead for 20 years or something about the mafia). I was not in the mood to go in or stay out one way or the other so I just replied with “oh”.
This must have given her the green light somehow because she kept on going. So I said “oh” again. She went on for a little while more and I said “oh” one more time before changing the subject completely.
I didn't hear any more about it that day. I guess “oh” was enough to let her know that I had heard her and yet allowed me to not engage in a conversation that could ultimately go wrong one way or the other.
I have used the word "Oh" many times. Of course, Alzheimer's World being what it is, it's not always the right thing to say.
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- Communicating in Alzheimer's World
- How the Loss of Memory Works in Alzheimer’s Disease, and How Understanding This Could Help You
- Learning How to Communicate with Someone Suffering From Alzheimer's Disease
- Alzheimer's World -- Trying to Reconnect with Someone Suffering from Alzheimer's Disease
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Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room