Aug 27, 2014

The Power of the Word We

Your loved one is still made of flesh and blood, just like you and me. Don't forget that.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

The Power of the Word We
S/he did this. S/he did that. You did this. You did that.

All 4 of those sentences imply blame.

The blame game.

When caregivers vent, or complain, they are usually blaming the person living with dementia for doing something they don't like, or something that is obviously driving them crazy.

Answer these questions?

Why is it that Alzheimer's caregiver often blame and complain about behaviors of persons living with dementia?

How often do caregivers complain about behaviors that are very common to people living with Alzheimer's or a related dementia?

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In order to care effectively there is one word that you must incorporate into your vocabulary

We

Why We?

Lets start with a simple basic premise.

Aren't the caregiver and the person living with dementia in it together?

Think about it. You are both involved in the situation at hand - like it or not.

So if you are in a situation where you need to find a way to live effectively, and to live together in harmony wouldn't that imply a team effort?

Ah, teamwork.

The word You is singular in nature.

The word WE however implies something very different. In the care giving paradigm WE implies

You and me.

You and me together.

I would suggest that every dementia caregiver take an inventory of the words they are saying during any day of caregiving.

Are you saying" s/he did this, s/he did that while complaining? Or,something similar?

When talking to your love one do you say, you need to take a shower? Or, do you say we need to take a shower?

I believed from the very beginning that Dotty and I were in it together. We were going to have to work together, live together, find things we liked to do together, and most importantly we have to find

A State of Harmony and Cooperation.

Yes, in the beginning I complained to anyone that would listen.  I would complain, can you believe she said, I'm hungry and starving 20 times today.

I did it all the time. She did this... She did that...

Then I finally realized

We had to find a way to start living our Life (Together).

How do you put the WE into Alzheimer's caregiving?

You start by realizing that your loved one is the person you always knew. Sure they have changed due to the complications brought on by Alzheimer's or a related dementia. But take a good hard look - it is still them.

They are not the enemy or the villain.

Your loved one is still made of flesh and blood, just like you and me. Don't forget that.

They have a heart and feelings. Don't forget that.

Sure they do things that often seem wacky and bizarre. But it is not intentional - those actions are the symptoms of Alzheimer's as it takes its course.

Go ahead. Start substituting the word WE for the words: You, I and me.

Once I stared thinking that

WE needed to start living our Life together

everything started to fall into place.

Your comment and thoughts are welcome below.

What do you think?

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder and Editor 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 4,850 articles. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.
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