Periodically I will add posts here if the sources provide additioanl informaiton on how to think about and deal with Dementia/ Alzheimer's Disease.


SCROLL DOWN FOR TEXT and BIBLIOGRAPHY from DAI WEBINAR 2/22-23/2017. You can also find this information on my website:

Even though this blog is now dormant (see info below) there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. My guess is that you could spend a lot of time here and maybe learn or experience a thing or two about living with and loving someone with Dementia/Alzheimer's or maybe come away with the feeling that "you are not alone" in YOUR work with the same!

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Happy New Year 2016. With a new year comes new beginnings and sometimes endings. If I am personally progressing and if I am doing a good job in my grieving Gregory's death; if I have been able to learn my lessons in living and loving someone diagnosed with Dementia/ Alzheimer's; if I am to get on with my life ... I need to bring this Alzheimer's blog to an end since my writing has been dealing less with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and more with life after Dementia/ Alzheimer's.

Of course, I will always continue to work for and support fair treatment on behalf of people with Dementia/ Alzheimer's and may post here from time to time. Also, there are many wonderful posts here through which you may browse.

With this change, I will continue and reinvigorate my "michael a. horvich writes" blog which deals with grieving Gregory's death, life lessons, personal experiences, observations, memoirs, dreams, and humor in essay and poetry, as well as an attempt now and then at sharing a piece of fiction.

Please follow me there by clicking or click the link located on the right side of this page.

Finally, COMMENTS are always important to me and you can still comment on the posts on this blog! CLICK "Comments" and sign in or use "Anonymous." Leave your name or initials if you wish so I'll know it's you? Check the "Notify Me" box to see my reply to you.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lie Down and Die or Hunker Down and Keep Living

"Lie Down and Die or Hunker Down and Keep Living." That is a saying that Gregory and I adopted early after his diagnosis with Alzheimer's some 11 years ago. Now it is time for me to renew that saying for myself as Gregory no longer has this fight. He is content. I hope he can continue to be so.

When I am with him at Lieberman, if I think about the man Gregory used to be as recently as last Christmas, or if I think about Gregory while I am at home and compare that to the man he used to be as recently as last Christmas, or if I spend too much time thinking about what our relationship had been like over most of the last 39 years, or if I by chance catch a photograph of our earlier days; I might as well stop writing this post and sob and scream and dash my body against the walls and  throw myself into bed depressed not to emerge for days or weeks, if ever.

Maybe some day I will be able to think more about Gregory and my past, and revel in the memories of our beautiful time together. But for now I need to focus on the here and now, as Gregory seems to be able to do, and enjoy our beautiful time together now, today, here and now.

It is not easy seeing him in his wheel chair: immobile, unable to toilet himself, unable to feed himself, now and then tremoring, needing to concentrate on how to get the water through a straw or bite a piece of sandwich, not being able to use words to share his thoughts, crying unexpectedly, so focused on some far off object or through that even I cannot get a response; all this surrounded by 70 to 100 year olds who are worst off than Gregory and sometimes in the midst of their cries and shouts and anger and confusion and shit smells and food messes clinging to the napkin tucked around their neck.

But what I am able to see, so this is what I focus on, is a community in which Gregory feels safe, loved, taken care of, provided for, having limited wants and needs. Gregory is past the point of clinging to fears, unnecessary expectations, the past or future, holding on to the need for "things."

What I am able to experience is how he brightens up when he sees me or a visitor, how he is able to smile and tell me he loves me, how he tells Pat, "You are beautiful." or Cheryl, "Oh, it is you!" or Jan, "Oh wonderful." or me when at dinner I told him I needed to talk to the Social Worker and that I would be right back, "Oh that would be lovely."

I look forward to his hugs and with some delay in sound his large smacks of a kiss on my cheek. We can hold hands for hours and watch "South Pacific" over and over again on the TV in his room. I can offer him a piece of chocolate or a cookie and he is delighted. I can take my leave telling him I will see him tomorrow and he will acknowledge with an, "OK."

For now this is all I need and I relish each moment because I know that even these minimal interactions will disappear. But what I can hold onto is our love for each other, maybe at a later date our memories, and to the knowledge that all of his needs are being beautifully taken care of by a huge team of people who care. While Gregory's illness has gotten worse, his situation has gotten better!

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