Nov 22, 2015

A Few of My Thoughts on Alzheimer's Caregiving

Alzheimer's World is the place you go to when you want to communicate effectively with someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

A Few of My Thoughts on Alzheimer's Caregiving

There are more than 5,000 articles on this website. The article, Communicating in Alzheimer's World, has been read over 1,000,000 times  and shared in support groups all over the world.

Here are a few of the wild and crazy things I wrote over the years. Little snippets from some of the articles.

I could easily understand Dotty's fear of the "dreaded home". She actually mentioned this before the Alzheimer's diagnosis. I suppose it was pretty ugly in a "home" back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s.

It was pretty simple for me to diffuse Dotty's notion of going to the "home". I told her 22,687 times over several years that no one was going to put her in a "home".

After a few years I finally came up with a better idea.

I put my arm around her, put my head on her head, and said "its you and me and we are staying right here".  

Much more effective.

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As far as Dotty fears and insecurities,  I over came this by creating what I call the "Ground Hog Day Solution".

Have you seen the movie Ground Hog day? Well, the Bill Murray character keeps waking up at 6 AM in the morning, and its the same day everyday. In other words, he keeps repeating the same day over and over.

What I did was try and make every day just like the day that came before it. It worked wonders. Dotty calmed down. She stopped saying mean things to me. She stopped complaining (well somewhat), and she finally became safe and secure. She also stopped peeing on herself by the way.

In the movie Bill Murray improves his life as he relives the same day over and over.

The same thing happened here. Dotty and I improved our routine each day and before I knew it, each day was a little better than the one that came before it.

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Alzheimer's is a sinister disease--it kills the brain of the person suffering from Alzheimer's.

And, it will try to kill the brain of the Alzheimer's caregiver.

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When someone suffering from Alzheimer's believes something to be true it is true -- in Alzheimer's World. Really doesn't matter if it is true in Real World. Doesn't matter.

Alzheimer's World is the place you go to when you want to communicate effectively with someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

What a person suffering from Alzheimer's disease says might not be true in the real world -- as you know it. But, you are no longer communicating in the real world when you are communicating with someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Where are you? Hint: Alzheimer's World.

You could look at it this way. If you move to a foreign country and you don't learn the language, you are going to feel bent out of shape a large fraction of the time. You might feel like you have a variation of Alzheimer's disease when no one understands what you are saying, and you don't understand what they are saying.

Since you are the one in the foreign country it is up to you to adapt. Sooner or later you will learn how to speak this new foreign language. Sooner is better.

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I bet if I told you that you were going to die if you didn't lose 50 pounds you would do something about it. I bet if I told you you were going to live to be 95 years old, you wouldn't do anything to try and prevent Alzheimer's disease.

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Reality in Alzheimer's World is a reflection of what the person who is deeply forgetful thinks and believes. It is this reality that you must focus on, not the way YOU think things are, or should be.

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More Insight and Advice from the
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 5,000 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room