Mar 30, 2013

Alzheimer's World Brings Out the "We" In "You"

In Alzheimer's World I realized that Dotty was not quite as capable as she had been, not a different person, just not as capable of doing certain kinds of things that required a part of her brain that was now malfunctioning due to Alzheimer's disease.

By +Bob DeMarco 
+Alzheimer's Reading Room 


One of the things I realized shortly after I made it to Alzheimer's World is that caregiver requires a "We" attitude.

Not a s/he did this, and s/he did that. No sentences filled with the word "You". "You did this", "you can't do that".

In other words, you need to stop blaming, and you need to stop objectifying by using the word "you" all the time. If you are unhappy or if you feel that the person living with dementia is overly mean or challenging, start paying attention to the words you use while talking to them.

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Alzheimer's World Brings Out the
Every hear two people that are getting divorced talk to each other. If so, you will notice that there is constant use of the word "you" to blame, and very little use of the words "we" and "us".

Loving, caring relationships are built on cooperative effort.

In the case of Alzheimer's caregiving you have to bring out the "we" in "you". The "we" is an attitude that everything that happens and is happening requires the attention of both parties - the caregiver and the patient.

After I reached Alzheimer's World it seemed obvious to me that Alzheimer's caregiving is a "we" experience. We had to do things together -- Dotty and me. If we didn't, I don't think Dotty would have done much of anything.

So when Dotty was having a problem with incontinence I didn't see it as her problem, I saw it as "our" problem.

I soon realized that in order to have a good day, Dotty and I had to do lots of things together. I realized that if you leave an Alzheimer's patient alone most of the day, they will become dull very fast, and more likely that not their brain will deteriorate more quickly over time. It might be slow at first, but it will pick up downside momentum sooner.

So once I made it to Alzheimer's World I concluded that Dotty and I were in the situation together. In Alzheimer's World I realized that Dotty was not quite as capable as she had been, not a different person, just not as capable of doing certain kinds of things that required a part of her brain that was now malfunctioning due to Alzheimer's disease.

The result, in Alzheimer's World I became a little different (still the same person). The things that seem so bizarre in the real world, seem normal in Alzheimer's World. The strange things that Dotty sometimes did were normal now, the bizarre behaviors that came out were now expected in Alzheimer's World.

The truth is, Dotty became normal again to me. She was just less capable of doing, and that was what I was there for - to guide her and help her do when necessary.

So Dotty and I became a team in Alzheimer's World. No more banging of the heads, no more running around the wheel, just a straight out concerted effort to live our lives that way we always had. Sure there were some constraints and changes as Alzheimer's progressed but the goal was one and the same.

But the bottom line was simple. I came to the understanding in Alzheimer's World that Dotty was in fact the person I always knew but yes we was changing bit by bit due to a malfunction in her brain.

So I did the only thing I could do. I changed right along with her.

And this how we put the "We" back in "us".

I cared for my mother Dotty from November 17, 2003 until May 25, 2012 when she went to Heaven.

Once I made it to Alzheimer's World I began to experience the joy that comes with effective, loving, caregiving.

We did it, and we did it together.

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Bob DeMarco
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 Alzheimer's Reading Knowledge Base contains more than 4,000 articles, and the ARR has more than 343,000 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
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