Reality for the deeply forgetful is a reflection of what the person living with dementia thinks and believes.
My guess is that you experience the frustration of hearing your loved one repeating words that you believe to be untrue over and over.
You also see and experience crazy behaviors from them over and over.
What you believe to be true, and what the person who is deeply forgetful believes to be true are often diametrically opposed. The exact opposite.
Here is the one thing you need consider and understand. Your view of reality and your loved one's view of reality might be very different.
This occurs because their brain is sick and they can't remember simple things that are easy for you to remember.
Ask yourself, what are you doing and how are you reacting when someone living with Alzheimer's says something you know to be incorrect or untrue?
What are you feeling when this happens? Are you constantly correcting them?
If you are constantly correcting a person who is deeply forgetful are you also experiencing enormous feelings of frustration and stress?
When you correct them do you you start to feel angry, stressed, and/or disconcerted?
Sooner or later you must make a decision.
Do you want to continue doing this? Do you want to continue feeling terrible? Or, is there an alternative?
This isn't simple to do, but it is necessary -- you need to start accepting that when a person who is deeply forgetful says something they believe to be true it is in fact a reality for them.
It is their reality.
When they continually repeat themselves they do it because they can't remember.
There is no sinister plot here. Brain sick, Brain not functioning properly. Can't remember.
Don't be afraid or reluctant to step into this new and very different world.
In Alzheimer's World, reality takes on a different shape.
Reality in Alzheimer's World is a reflection of what the person who is deeply forgetful thinks and believes.
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I am going to repeat this.
Reality in Alzheimer's World is a reflection of what the person living with Alzheimer's thinks and believes.
It is this new reality that you must focus on,
not the way YOU think things are, or should be.
I feel confident when I say this -- you won't be able to convince a person who is deeply forgetful that they are wrong, and you won't be able to convince them that your reality is the true reality.
They can't remember like you or me, and this explains why it is often difficult, or impossible for them, to comprehend our point of view.
When you ask a person who cannot remember to remember,
you are asking the person who is deeply forgetful to come back into your world.
This they cannot do.
The goal in all communications with a person living with dementia should be to connect with them in a positive, constructive, effective way.
What you want to be doing is trying to establish a positive pattern of communication.
This requires you to develop calm, effective responses that are easily accepted by the person who is deeply forgetful.
By establishing positive patterns of communication over a series of situations you learn how to deal with the new reality that is at the core of Alzheimer's World.
The more you practice the better you get at it.
Before you know it, Alzheimer's World becomes another dimension in your life. You learn how to operate effectively in this world. Instead of a sinister confusing world it becomes a parallel universe.
The place you go to when you want to communicate with someone who is deeply forgetful is Alzheimer's World.
Once you learn how to do this you start communicating in a way that works for both parties -- the caregiver and the deeply forgetful.
If you have not done so already I suggest you read, or even reread, these two articles.
The Best Solutions to the Problems that Caregivers Face Each Day
What is the Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Test Your Memory for Alzheimer's (5 Best Memory Tests)
Learning How to Communicate with Someone Living with Alzheimer's
I finally realized that I was fighting Alzheimer's and this was not working. I needed to change. Like it or not reality had changed. This understanding lead me to a new place that I now call Alzheimer's World.
Continue Reading - Learning How to Communicate with Someone Living with Alzheimer's
Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide.
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