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, August 30, 2015


In response to a recent blog (Click here to read. Opens in a new window.) by fellow blogger Kate Saffer I wrote:
Wow Kate. This blog hit home several times. Forgetting vs Being Forgotten. Anticipatory Grief vs Phobia. During the last very difficult year of transition for Gregory, I never once asked him to tell me my name. I was so afraid he would not remember. Your are right. Anticipatory grief. Eventually, I think I asked for name verification only once and he failed. I refused to ask again because I am terrified of the results.
Recently when I arrive for my daily visits, he will look at me a little longer before recognizing me but then again he has had trouble focusing on things for maybe a year or so. So I stand at what I have learned to be the correct distance, I speak loudly (which I usually do, being used to teaching a classroom of 200 :-), and sometime repeat, “Hi. It’s me! Hey I’m here! I love you! Look at me!” Sometimes I will say “Look at me in the face,” sometimes twice or three times and he will be able to eventually do that and he will smile at my presence.
Sometimes I realize that he is too distant in contemplation and instead of forcing him to respond, I either come back later. Sometimes I shower him with kisses and either he receives them, waves them away, or ignores them. Having acted however, I feel successful in having announced my arrival.
More often than not he gets very exited to see me, he laughs, or reaches out for a kiss and hug. Once in a while (I usually melt when this happens) he will say something like, “Oh my Michael. My Michael.” That is enough for me.
Being a teacher of young children, you get used to not getting reinforcement for the work you do, rarely do you discover what your efforts turned into. So you get used to giving yourself compliments, knowing when you did a good job, sometimes knowing when you failed and trying to learn from it, but basically learning how to self reinforce. You get used to never seeing a finished product in your student. So that ability I have developed helps with Gregory, I do a lot of self reinforcing. In fact when others reflect on “how good I am” I get embarrassed.

Kate's blog was prompted by another Dementia/Alzheimer's blog at

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