Apr 6, 2017

Alzheimer's World and the Positive That Comes With It

It took me 18 months before I finally stopped judging my mother on a set of standards that were unreasonable for a person living with dementia. Instead I started listening, paying attention, and observing.

Once I made it to Alzheimer's World I changed.

Instead of getting bent out shape, frustrated, or angry when a problem arose, I noticed I started feeling comfortable, and often calm.

This happened after I started looking at my mother's actions and behaviors from her point of view. I asked myself, why? Why is she doing this?

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

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As odd as it might sound, Alzheimer's patients mostly do things just like us - with a purpose. The actions of Alzheimer's patients although odd and often challenging make sense once you start looking at them from the point of view of the person that is living with dementia.

So I was quite surprised when I was first realized that the same exact behaviors and words that hurt me so much, no longer bothered me once I made it to Alzheimer's World.

The heavy duty stress I was experiencing began to disappear. It was replaced by understanding.

I finally started to understand what my mother was doing, and why she was doing it.

Once I understood,  it became easier to accept that the behaviors caused by Alzheimer's and dementia, behaviors that seemed so complex and hard to understand, were actually the normal in Alzheimer's World.

These behaviors were to be expected and accepted.

It took me 18 months before I finally stopped judging my mother on a set of standards that were unreasonable for a person living with dementia. What I really did was stop judging her (completely). Instead I started listening, paying attention, and observing.

Almost over night I recognized Dotty. There she was. Not some person I didn't know. Dotty pure and simple.

The most amazing aspect of Alzheimer's World is how virtually overnight the same behaviors that seemed so hurtful, so disconcerting, and so mean, no longer have the same emotional and psychological impact. These same behaviors become benign.

This happens in part because in Alzheimer's World you open your mind. With this new and open mind your loved one living with dementia seems to change back into the person you always knew. Sure they are different but only in the ways that are caused by Alzheimer's.

Pretty much it is still them standing there in front of you.

In Alzheimer's World the caregiver becomes kinder and gentler. And then, the remarkable happens, the Alzheimer's patient becomes kinder and gentler as they begin to mirror the behavior they receive.

No Alzheimer's patients do not become perfect. They continue to have their moments. Of course, this makes them more like us. We are not perfect, and yes we have our moments.

The ability to understand, learn how to cope, and then, learn a new way to communicate with a person living with dementia are essential components of caregiver excellence.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized expert speaker and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide.

The Alzheimer's Reading Room contains more than 5,000 articles and has been published daily since July, 2009.

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What is a Memory Care Facility?

Memory Care Facilities may also be called communities, neighborhoods, units, wings, or hallways. They are all designed and devoted to serving people with Alzheimer's and dementia.