Mar 18, 2012

The Wheelchair Ride, Star Spangled Banner

I don't know why, but I continually need to be reminded that there is always, More There. The good news is that Dotty won't let me forget.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Someone once asked me what I was going to do when Dotty reached an advanced stage of Alzheimer's and couldn't walk or do much anymore.

I surprised myself when I answered without hesitation, I don't know for sure, I'll figure it out when we get there, one thing for sure,

we will continue to live our lives.

That was my answer.

We are certainly at or near that point now, and we continue to adjust. The we in this equation? Dotty and me.

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A few weeks ago I decided to put Dotty in the wheelchair and start walking her around the area. There were really two things on my mind: get Dotty out of the house and into the world; and, continue to get Dotty into bright light.

I guess you could sayit is our intention to "carry on".

The wheelchair rides seem to be working better than I expected. On our little walks, I ask Dotty to read the street signs. We have streets, avenues, ways, and terraces on our walk. Interestingly, Dotty can still read the street signs, but she only reads the first part. For example, she will say Silk Oak, for Silk Oak Terrace. Good enough for me. Dotty also mentions how big the trees are, or mentions the flowers. Sometimes she tells me what a great job they are doing of keeping the "place" looking nice. When we first start out, Dotty doesn't usually say anything. But after a while, I ask about the street signs and this seems to open up her "awareness".

I'm convinced the wheelchair rides help. They help keep Dotty attached to the world. There is no doubt in my mind that the bright light continues to have a "real" positive effect on Dotty's mood and behavior.

When I first started to talk about the positives of bright light most people looked at me in a funny way. I still remember a television interview where I brought this up. I was on with a neurologist, a good neurologist, and the reporter asked the neurologist a follow up question about the effect of bright light after I mentioned it. He said, that was the first time he had heard it. We are finally get more research and understand of the positive effects of bright light on the deeply forgetful.

Soon I intend to extend our wheelchair ride to other places. Dog run? Go look at alligators and birds? Find out if any of these "turn Dotty on".

Yesterday, I was on the computer. I thought Dotty was asleep on the sofa. A woman started singing the national anthem on the television, the Star Spangled Banner. Dotty started singing. Not some of the words like she does now, all of the words. When the singer paused for effect, Dotty just kept on singing ahead of her. Every word, the correct words.

I actually got up from my chair, and walked over and watched Dotty singing. She seemed happy and quite proud of herself.

I was a bit startled, although, I was feeling quite happy. The kinda happy that makes your heart soar.

I don't know why, but I continually need to be reminded that there is always,

More There.

The good news is that Dotty won't let me forget.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 3,361 articles with more than 397,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

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