Friday, January 25, 2013

Alzheimer's What's the Use


I learned that there are probably a lot of people out there that think and believe - What's the Use. This means you can't do anything, and they are going to die anyway.

By Bob DeMarco
+Alzheimer's Reading Room 


Alzheimer's What's the Use


Last Friday night I was out having a good time and I ended up in a conversation with someone I had never met before.

She asked me, what do you do? When this happens, and it happens quite often now, I say, I'm a blogger.

She asked, what do you blog about? I answered Alzheimer's.

She asked why?

I said its a long story, but the bottom line is my mother lived with Alzheimer's, I had some good success in caring for her, so people asked me to write about it and I do.


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She asked, can you make a lot of money blogging about Alzheimer's? I answered, not so far. I laughed when I said that.

She then said, why would people want to read about what you did with your mother.

I answered, well usually they are taking care of someone they love and they are searching for better more effective ways to care. They want to learn how to cope and communicate effectively with a person living with dementia.

She then said, what's the use?  I shuddered internally and asked what do you mean?

She said, well,  when a person has Alzheimer's there is nothing you can do, its just a matter of time.

At this point, the right hand side of my brain, and the left hand side of my brain are in combat mode. If I use one side, I'll get angry and probably berate the person. If I use the other side, I'll remain calm, cool, and collected, and be nice.

I have to tell myself in my head - relax. This means don't use your tongue as a sword.

Eventually I asked, do you know someone that has Alzheimer's? She answered, yes, my mother. I asked, is she alive? She answered, yes.

I asked, do you think it is hopeless. She said, yes. I asked why? She said, she is a mean Bi*ch, and she is going to die anyway.

The hair on the back of my neck stood up. At this point, I am fighting a battle in my head. I want to remain nice, but all kinds of nasty responses are flying through my head.

I take a deep breath and switch over to my nice side.

For some wild and crazy reason I ask, is your mother here in Florida? She says, yes. I then say, maybe I should meet her. She asks why? I respond, see what is going on. For what purpose she asks.

Then I go really wild. I say, so I can show you there is more there than you can imagine.

This conversation went on for a bit and went no where.

Finally, I grabbed a napkin and wrote AlzheimersReadingRoom.com on it. I said, if you like, you can take a look at my blog, and decide for yourself if it is really - gulp - hopeless.

And that was that.

I am not in the habit of telling people what to think or feel. As you probably noticed here on the ARR, I don't mind sharing advice, or writing about my own experience. But you are the one that decides if you want to be here, or if you want to read.

I took away a lot from the conversation.

First, I actually think I can talk to Alzheimer's and dementia patients and make a difference. Don't ask me why I think this, I just do. If nothing else, my brain is telling me I could bring out the more there. One thing for sure, there is more there. I am confident about that conclusion.

The second take away is a bit harsh. I learned that there are probably a lot of people out there that think and believe - What's the Use. This means you can't do anything, and they are going to die anyway.

Ouch.

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Well I am finally getting out and into the real world again. Quite frankly, almost every time someone asks me what I do, it leads to them telling me one of their relatives, or a relative of a close friend, has Alzheimer's.

I didn't write about this experience I had in the very same place a month ago but here goes.

In the very same place about a month ago a women asked me what do you do. I told her. She then turned to her friend and said, you should talk to this guy. The woman asked why, the other woman responded, his mother had Alzheimer's and he helps people cope with Alzheimer's.

The second woman started crying. Right there in public. Her mother has Alzheimer's.

Yikes.

Alzheimer's is every where, its all around me, seems like everywhere I go.

I intend to start talking in public about Alzheimer's this year. In fact, I will have a couple announcements on that in the not so distant future.

After my recent experiences I do have to ask myself, is Alzheimer's going to give me heart aches and stomach aches again? 

I mean when I start meeting people in the real world that are dealing with Alzheimer's. I had not really considered this.

One thing for sure, you will never hear me say, What's the Use. Or, there is nothing you can do.

As I sit here writing I am wondering - do most people, or even a large fraction of people believe there is nothing you can do, so why bother?

Well, I am ready to go out into the real world now. Something tells me I am going to get another education. I guess I am going to get a new and different perspective.

One thing for sure. It is my intention to lead people right up to the crossroad where you choose burden or Joy.

I hope the majority of them decide to step to the left.

If you have the time, I would like to read your comments on this article below.

Share your perspective if you will.

Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 3,811 articles with more than 306,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content +Bob DeMarco , the Alzheimer's Reading Room