Nov 6, 2013

Are Alzheimer's Patients Lovable, or Empty Shells of Themselves?

Would the Alzheimer's community be receiving greater support if persons living with Alzheimer's and related dementia were portrayed as lovable in their own way? 

Or, is portraying a person living with dementia as an empty shell the path to greater support?

By Bob DeMarco
+Alzheimer's Reading Room 


Are Alzheimer's Patients Lovable, or Empty Shells of Themselves?

In the comments section under the article The Best Alzheimer’s Facility: An Aide’s Shocking Behavior Convinced Me our reader Myra wrote:
"This is a great reading. It is so true. Those of us who work with memory care residents daily begin to love and care deeply for them. As a caregiver on the job and especially as a family member of a memory challenged loved one this is very comforting."
This started me thinking. I wonder what percentage of the general public views a person living with Alzheimer's or a related dementia as lovable?

I can say with great confidence that the audience here found my deeply forgetful mother, Dotty, lovable.

Believe it or not, I once had a person with a Ph. D. ask me,

"has she tried to stab you with a scissors yet?"

Subscribe to the Alzheimer's Reading Room
Email:

At first I was astounded. However, after thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that if one person asked me that question, she was not the only person thinking along those lines.

Do members of the general public think and believe that Alzheimer's patients are typically mean and violent?

Here is something I heard over and over.

I don't know how you do it. I am now wondering did they mean because it is so time consuming to care for a person who is deeply forgetful?

Or, because you give up much of your life while caring for a loved one?

Or, did they mean something else?

What are those in the general public thinking about dementia patients?

By general public I mean people outside the Alzheimer's and dementia communities.

Finally, I must ask myself.

Would the Alzheimer's community be receiving greater support if persons living with Alzheimer's and related dementia were portrayed as lovable in their own way?

Or, is portraying a person living with dementia as an empty shell the path to greater support?

I ask each of you for your response. Use the comments area below (there are already over 40 responses).

If possible, could you email family, friends, co-workers, and those you know outside the Alzheimer's community and ask them to answer these questions here on the Alzheimer's Reading Room?

Thanks in advance.

Related Articles
+Bob DeMarco  is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized influencer, speaker, and expert in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community Worldwide. The ARR Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room