Jan 19, 2013

Looking for Alzheimer's World

I learned to accept that my mother lived in a new and different World. I learned to accept that the behaviors she evidenced were normal to her. Along with this acceptance came a feeling of calm and understanding. I finally found the place I was searching for. 
I called this new place Alzheimer's World.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Looking for Alzheimer's World
For the first eighteen months of caring for my mother, Dotty, I was lost. It seemed like I had lost my ability to cope. Even when I acted with the best of intention it seemed to backfire on me.

I was trying to discover a new and effective way to communication with my mother. It was clear to me that the traditional ways of coping and communicating were not working.

I finally concluded that in order to communicate effectively with my mother I had to change. I had to develop a new set of communication skills in order to deal effectively with her new reality. This simple realization lead me to the creation of what I now call Alzheimer's World.

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Over time, I learned how to step seamlessly into this brand new world. It didn't take long but it did take effort to get to where I needed to go.

My goal was simple and straightforward -- I wanted to learn how to communicate effectively with someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

When I stepped seamlessly into Alzheimer's World I was the same person. My mother, however, was the same and different. My mother's sense and understanding of reality has changed. It changed because her brain had changed. The way her brain worked had changed.

My flash of inspiration was clear. I was trying to get my mother to conform to my world. An impossible task I finally realized.

So I decided to accept the only alternative, to go into her World. To look at the World from her point of view. Quite simply to start looking at the World from her eyes.

When I went into Alzheimer's World, I enter my mother's World. I joined her in her new understanding of reality.

I accepted that this new world was very different from the real world as I understood it..

I also accepted that the behaviors that my mother often expressed -- the behaviors that were driving me crazy in real world -- were perfectly acceptable and are the norm in Alzheimer's World.

This simple understanding brought with it a tremendous sense of relief. I stopped feeling like I was going nuts. I stopped feeling like my mother was nuts.

Once into Alzheimer's World I developed a sense of calm. Actually I should say, I became calmer.

Somehow when I stepped into Alzheimer's World I experienced a new sense of calmness. This new calmness brought with it a sense of understanding. It felt like every thing slowed down. Much of the way I operated in real world changes. Even the tone of my voice changed.

Behaviors that once made me angry and "out of sorts" now made me chuckle. They somehow became interesting and fascinating, instead of sinister.

This might sound odd -- Alzheimer's World is a kinder, gentler, and happier place.

Earlier I wrote two important article that should be consider companions to this article:

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Bob DeMarco
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The ARR knowledge base contains more than 3,811 articles with more than 306,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room