By Marie Marley
Alzheimer's Reading Room
However, as with many things to do with Alzheimer’s, there is the other side of the coin.
In my personal experience, lack of inhibition can be positive and beautiful.
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Here are some wonderful examples of lack of inhibition from my soul mate of 30 years, Ed.
Before developing dementia Ed was rather reserved when it came to expressing physical affection, when he had dementia, he changed.
For example he usually held the hands of his visitors – even the men - often all the way through their visit. This appeared to come to him very naturally, and he obviously enjoyed it. So did his visitors.
He also displayed physical affection to other residents – also including the men. One day a few weeks after Ed moved to the Alois Alzheimer Center, I arrived to find him sitting on the sofa beside a resident named John. I was surprised to notice they were holding hands.
When I entered the room they smiled broadly and took turns telling me they were best friends and they moreover, they had been best friends for years. (Of course Ed had only lived there two weeks.)
They reminded me of two little girls sitting side by side on a bench and swinging their legs while waiting on the school bus. It was very touching. You rarely see such signs of affection between two men in today’s society.
Another example occurred one day when I was visiting and all of a sudden Angel, who I thought was the most beautiful aide in the entire place, came in just to ask him if he needed anything.
He said he didn’t but patted the empty space next to him on the sofa, inviting her to sit down. She did and the three of us engaged in pleasant conversation.
After a while, Ed reached up and began to gently stroke her golden hair. (He would have been fired had he done something like this in his previous profession as a university professor of French.) She smiled and put her arm around his shoulder. It was a lovely and natural gesture for both of them, and it warmed my heart.
Does anyone else have any positive stories about their loved one’s lack of inhibition?
Marie Marley is the award-winning author of the uplifting book, Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy. Her website (ComeBackEarlyToday.com) contains a wealth of information for Alzheimer’s caregivers.
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