Dec 10, 2013

Can Dementia Patients Feel Our Vibes?

When the deeply forgetful get confused and start feeling out of sorts, they can't remember why they are confused, or "bent out of shape". This is the problem.


By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

You the Alzheimer's caregiver can make your loved one - worse. You can make them mean.

It might not be intentional, but you might be doing it.

There I said it, sounds harsh doesn't it.

I believe Alzheimer's patients can feel our vibes. In fact, they might feel them more intensely than persons without Alzheimer's.

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What I am going to say next is based on observation on my part, not science. I actually started thinking about it this way.

You know how when someone is blind there other senses become more acute. It is not unusual for blind persons to have acute senses of smell and hearing.

So why wouldn't it be possible for Alzheimer's patients, as they lose the part of the brain that stores and sorts out new memories, to have a more acute sense of feelings.

I believe they do.

The deeply forgetful might also have a greater sense of awareness than we might be able to imagine.

Ever talk about a person who is deeply forgetful like they are not there? Then later on have them make a remark that alerts you to the fact that they heard every word you said?

Ever go into another room to vent on the phone only to find out later that your loved one heard every word you said?

If either of the two ever happened to you then you might have also noticed that your Alzheimer's patient became angry and hard to deal with, and this might have been for an extended period of time.

By the way, who's fault was it that they were angry?

How do you feel when someone talks negatively about you behind your back? Are you happy or angry?

Now these are only simple examples of what I am getting at here.

Persons living with dementia are unable to resolve cognitive dissonance. In this sense I am using cognitive dissonance to mean a kind of cognitive confusion.

Ever get confused about how someone feels about you? Ever get confused about how someone at work perceives or values you?

What happens when you get confused? Do you feel bent out of shape, angry, or disconcerted?

It is likely that one way or another you will be able to eliminate this state of confusion by somehow resolving the issues.

When the deeply forgetful get confused and start feeling out of sorts, they can't remember why they are confused, or "bent out of shape".

They cannot resolve something they can't remember. So they stay bent of shape until someone gives them some help or guidance.
Oh yeah, and here is another thing that surely happens - they deteriorate faster cognitively. They experience higher, faster rates of cognitive decline.
  • How much time have you spent thinking about the level of confusion that a person who is typically deeply forgetful might be experiencing?
Did you ever think about it?

For certain every person who is deeply forgetful experiences the stress that comes along with confusion. And sometimes the level of confusion is all encompassing for them.

The bottom line here is simple.

We the caregivers are charged with the responsibility of keeping our loved one safe, secure, and happy!

I have written extensively here about how to listen to a person living with Alzheimer's, and written many times about how to communicate with persons living with dementia - like this one - Blah Blah Blah.

Before you do anything let me ask you a simple question(s)?

  • Did you smile and hug your loved one this morning when they woke up?
  • Did you smile right in their face and wait until you received a smile back?
  • How many times have you touched your loved ones face or hand so far today?
  • Have you put your arm around them?

Happy days are right around the corner if you think about the environment you are now living in.

Last words.

Don't worry about the past. You can't change it. Starting thinking about the future.

You can change the future no matter what the starting point is.

I know because I did it, and I am certain you can do it also.

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