FOR GREGORY

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

PLEASE NOTE:


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


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!


• • • • •


THIS WAS THE FINAL POST TO THIS SITE BEFORE IT WENT DORMANT.


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 http://mhorvich.blogspot.com 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.



Monday, March 23, 2015

Jan & Jake's Photo Booth

A post by my friend Jan Yourist:

https://connectere.wordpress.com/2015/03/23/the-joy-of-this-game/#comment-6780


The joy of this game

DSC_0005My dear friend Michael is turning 70. It’s hard to believe that all this time has passed. I think we were both in our early thirties when we first met. Over 10 years ago his partner Gregory was first diagnosed with early onset of Alzheimer’s and a year ago last December, Gregory needed to be moved into a care facility. Michael visits him nearly every day.
At first Michael wanted to spend his birthday quietly but then decided to put on a carnival to celebrate his 70th year for the residents where Gregory now lives. He asked his friends to help man the booths (Ring Toss, Go Fish, Bowling, etc.). All the games would be set up so that each resident could easily accomplish the task. There would be popcorn and cotton candy, circus music and lots of balloons to make it as festive and stimulating as possible. And everyone would win a prize. The center had invited all the families of the residents as well. Yesterday was the celebration.
I have to admit that at first I wasn’t sure it was all going to work out and that the residents would truly enjoy themselves. But dream no small dreams. It was loud and high-spirited. The room was filled with lots of family members and the residents busy,  interacting, and for the most part engaged. The staff at the center were also busy helping each resident through the maze of games and face-painting and food. JB and I were in charge of the photo booth where residents could get their pictures taken with a four foot bear Michael had purchased. We introduced ourselves to each resident as they came by and asked their names, told them what we were going to do, and introduced them to the bear. Some residents had intimate conversations with the bear, held its hand, felt its soft fur. Some, of course, were not aware of what was going on but a few seemed to be able to bring up a smile when asked. And then families began to request to have their pictures taken with their family member who lives there. Families gathered around their loved one and the bear to document the day. They asked for copies. One son whispered me a thanks for being so animated.
Having been to the center on other occasions visiting Gregory, I have become somewhat familiar with some of the residents. This was the first time, however, I met members of their families, the people from a time in their lives when they were vibrant, aware– the shakers and movers in their communal circles.  Yesterday was a snapshot into the broader context of their lives and whom they must have been, into the apparent impact they have made on other relationships in their lives.
And perhaps that was the real gift of yesterday. All of Michael’s friends came to the Lieberman Center to bring some zest and energy into the lives of those who live there. We all came with preconceived notions of doing a good deed. Actually, I believe we all left loaded with gifts, and not the ones offered as door prizes. We left with some new understanding of how a life can be distilled to its essence, without ego and expectation. How joy can really feel so pure and simple. How connection, in whatever form it takes, can sometimes be enough.
When I saw Gregory, it took him a minute or two to look at me. He kept looking past me though he heard my voice. When his eyes finally settled on my face, his eyes widened and he said, “You are so pretty!” Trust me, I’m sure Gregory was responding to the energy coming from me, not to any external manifestation of beauty. I looked deeply into his eyes, rubbed his cheek, and thanked him for the compliment.
Near the end of the carnival, one resident, talking with me, looked at one of her daughters with an almost apologetic look on her face and said, “I am sodependent on her.”
“Well, once she was so dependent on you,” I responded.
“Yes,” she said, “that is true.” Smiling she added, “I guess that’s the joy of this game.”

6 comments:

  1. Wow Wow Wow!!! I too doubted, but was delighted to be so wrong. As Jan says, the joy Michael brought to both the residents and their families was thrilling. Michael keeps surprising me in wonderful ways.

    Pat

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    1. Thanks Pat and thanks for being part of the adventure!

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  2. nothing like a surprise to make one's day :-)

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    1. Not really a surprise but a carefully planned and executed adventure! Thanks Susan.

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  3. From what has been written, I have no doubt that many wonderful memories were made during my amazing, Uncle Mike's Birthday Carnival. Family members and Staff, will hold this joyous day dear for many years to come. That is what has always had me in awe of my Uncle's life. Everything he does.touches so many people's lives. My birthday wish for you, Uncle Mike, is that you know how very special you are to so many people.

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