PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Both Sides of the Coin

A person who IS NOT afflicted by Alzheimer's Disease knows that they don't know, remembers that they forgot, understands that they are confused. He can use other words in place of the one forgotten, explain the function or use of the forgotten word, use metaphor or give you a definition of the missing word. He can "talk around" the missing idea. He can say things like, "I can't do this." or "Help me with this please." or "I'm stuck here." or "Give me a minute."

Most often one can do what I call an "Apple Find," like on the computer, wait a few seconds or minutes, or even later that night or the next day, and eventually the brain is able to search and retrieve. Somehow connections still exist and communication, in some form or another, can take place.

A person who IS afflicted by Alzheimer's Disease gets stuck, or lost, or frustrated, or angry. He cannot explain away the difficulty, give you a general idea of what he is trying to say, and sometimes does not realize that he could take you by the hand and SHOW you what he is trying to communicate.

Most often he stares into the distance trying to think, to remember, but the harder he tries the further the idea retreats. Eventually the retrieval not only gets harder but the thought he was trying to retrieve disappears and all is lost.

Frustrating for everyone involved! Sometimes with Gregory, I intuitively know what he is trying to say and after a short wait to give him the chance to come up with the word, I will ask, "Were you trying to ask about ....?"

Usually I can figure it out and both of us are able to avoid frustration. It is getting harder and harder to do this. Some times he just says, "Oh I give up" and he is OK with that. Sometimes I allow, "Oh just forget about it. We'll figure it out later." The irony is that he did just forget it and usually later never comes.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Michael!

    I know you have several blogs that you work with, but I chose to give you a Versatile Blogger Award for this one because of the deep caring and love that you show with it. I know you are a creative individual with many interests and skills, and my heart goes out to you for the struggles you face each day in living with, and loving, someone afflicted with this devastating disease.

    Even if you don't choose to do anything with the award, please know that your efforts are honored. If you do want to find out more, the details are on my blog.

    Either way, I wish you both every happiness this holiday season and into 2011.


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