Do we really understand that persons living with dementia are deeply forgetful?
If so, why do we complain and become so frustrated when they ask us the same question over and over; or, when they ask us for something (a person, place) that no longer exists?
Once I started thinking of my mother as deeply forgetful; rather than, as a person afflicted with dementia it really changed my perspective on forgetfulness.
We tend to view a person living with Alzheimer's or a related dementia as less than a "whole person". This is not true, or even close to being true. Persons living with dementia have wonderful memories; but they have problems remembering the right now and the recent. Not the past before the disease started to ravage their brains. It is all still there.
This explains why they might ask for a loved one that is long departed. They forgot they are gone. But they have not forgetton their loved one.
Haven't you ever longed for someone who is gone but not forgotten? It is not a bad thing to have loved, and then lost someone you love. Or, to long for their presence.
For some reason, we tend to find these kinds of behavior disconcerting when it comes from a person who is deeply forgetful.
These articles might help you to be understand and cope with a person who is deeply forgetful.
- How to Understand the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease
- How the Loss of Memory Works in Alzheimer’s, and How Understanding This Could Help You
- 10 Things a Person Living with Dementia Would Tell You If They Could
- Deeply Forgetful and Deeply Forgotten
- Rewiring My Brain and Stepping into Alzheimer's World
In fact, I often put my head on her head and told her - when necessary she could use my brain. This seemed to calm her.
We are born and some day we die. In between we live our lives. The goal of every dementia caregiver should be to live life along with their loved one - one day at a time.
In a real sense we the caregivers are constrained by our own brains. We tend to focus on the negative. We fail to adjust to the simple fact that persons afflicted with dementia are often deeply forgetful.
The attention span and ability to pay attention are not as good as they once were in those who are deeply forgetful. So, you have to slow down and keep the information (the words) you are conveying simple and manageable.
It is always best to try and be kinder than you feel.
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