Nov 8, 2010

Alzheimer's Disease, If You Can See Them, They Are There

Here is one thing I know for certain. No matter what happens you won't ever hear me say, Dotty is "not there"....

Bob De Marco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Earlier today an article came up on one of my alerts -- Dating Someone While Married to a Spouse With Alzheimer’s Disease. The article appeared on the Psychology Today blog.

The headline caught my attention and I thought to myself, this should be interesting.

Then I quickly read these words,
The healthy spouses of those with Alzheimer's Disease are in a particular quandary. They are technically married, however and in some cases, their spouse does not even know who they are. Taking care of a demented spouse can be much like taking care of a toddler because the person cannot be left alone or unattended and he or she cannot necessarily be reasoned with. It can be exhausting.

More and more, these healthy spouses are only too relieved to place their ill spouse in a care facility in order to get their spouse a better level of care as well as to get a respite from caretaking.
Someone can explain to me how you become -- technically married.

The words that stuck out to me were -- however the person they married is no longer "there".

Every time I read or hear those words I ask myself, if they are not there, where are they?

If I can see someone they must be there.

The problem I have with this concept is simple and straightforward. Those words, they are not "there", dehumanizes the person with Alzheimer's disease. Turns them into an object.

I guess you could say this gets my "dander" up. I don't like hearing those words.

Many of us Alzheimer's caregiver have come to a very different conclusion, we believe there is "more there". As it turns out, there is a growing body of evidence that there is "more there". More there than meets the eye.

I discovered the "more there" with my little Dotty on my own. It wasn't an accident. I was trying to improve her quality of life when I made my own discovery. A funny thing happened on the way to the forum -- my life improved right along with hers.

Yesterday, I read with great interest Carol Blackwell's article -- Alzheimer's Disease and the Five Stages of Grief.

This blog is about advice and insight into Alzheimer's disease. Well, that is some mighty powerful insight if you ask me. Judged on the number of people that came in and read that article, it appears a lot of people agree with me.

Might be a very good topic in support groups.

If you want to learn more about Carol and her husband Bob you can go over to USA Today and read their blog. Here is a link to a recent article.

Bob and Carol are Alzheimer's activist. They are also living their life.

Well my little Dotty and Carol's Bob are not quite the persons they once were. But, they are still here.

Here is one thing I know for certain. No matter what happens you won't ever hear me say, Dotty is "not there".

And no matter how bad things get, I'll find a way to "get in there".

The article on Psychology Today goes on to talk briefly about Barry Peterson and his book Jan's Story: Love lost to the long goodbye of Alzheimer's. This a good book and worth reading.

Here is a link to a video about Jan's story.

Dilemma, Yes.

Not there, No.

Insight and Advice

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room