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.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Visiting Gregory

When people visit Gregory for the first time they wonder if he will know who they are. My reply is "YES!" He may not know your name and he may not know how he knows you but he will know that he feels a special love for you and that you feel a special love for him.

Recently, a friend when asked if he wanted to visit Gregory with me after going out to breakfast replied, "I don't think so because last time I saw him he didn't know me. He kept looking away."

I think my reply was something like, "Maybe he was just distracted because you visited him on a day when a lot was going on around him." So we scheduled a visit.

In thinking about our upcoming visit I was wondering, "What if Gregory doesn't recognize him? What should my response be? Is that a good reason for a friend to no longer visit Gregory?"

Then I was reminded of a quote I read a long time ago about an old man who was asked why he got up early every morning and rode on a bus for an hour to go to the old people's home to visit his wife when she no longer knew who he was. His reply was simple but powerful, "She may not know who I am, but I know who she is!"

Unless a person with dementia is fully catatonic (and maybe even then) they enjoy visitors. They enjoy seeing someone who smiles at them, holds their hand, talks to them, strokes their head, gives them kisses. These are things everyone enjoys and in the narrow world of a memory care facility, perhaps they are enjoyed even more!

So I would hope that friends and family will continue visiting Gregory, when I go with them or if they go by themselves and whether he recognizes them or not, to help make his life a little bit more enjoyable and to make sure he knows that he is loved. Gregory may not know them but they know Gregory, and that matters.

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