Alzheimer’s and Loneliness

I was just on Facebook, it was yesterday.  I know I have wrote on the subject of loneliness for the caregiver but I have not thought of it from the point of the person who has Alzheimer’s.  There are times we think that a person with Alzheimer’s may be so much in their own head that they may not be aware of what is going on around them.  But after what I saw yesterday that is not necessarily true.  There was this poor man who has Alzheimer’s pleading with his friends to come see him.  Can you imagine that?


He wasn’t pleading to the world, he wasn’t pleading to just anybody, he was pleading to his friends.  I know how people distanced themselves from my husband and I.  But I started wondering, what is it that makes people do that, what are these people feeling when they distance themselves?


Do they ever think, it could happen to them?  It could.  Do we think how they are feeling, if our visit will make things worse?  It might not.  It is something that we should give thought to.  So many of us will throw our money to the different charitable organizations and feel good about it.  But how many of us realize that the free part of us, our time could really makes someone’s day.  We were created to be social creatures, no matter what our condition is.


I remember years ago I went to the hospital to see a friend.  He had a tumor on the brain, and they thought he was dying.  When my husband and I went to the hospital to see him,  he was in a coma.   I was in the room with his wife as only 2 could be in the room at a time.  She was telling him to calm down and go to sleep, but I could tell the action he was making, he was fighting.  So I started telling him to fight, don’t you sleep, you fight.  The next day he came out of the coma, and when I called the hospital and spoke to his wife.  She told me she had told her husband how many of his friends was at the hospital to see him, she said he didn’t remember any of them.  He asked her, was Marge here, she said yes.  He said she was helping me fight.  So you see you never know how you can affect a person.


When I think of another incident, I went to see my grandfather who was in a comma that he never came out of, he died.  I talked to him and told him about all the childhood antics I was involved in and he knew about.  I remember seeing him smile, even though his eyes were closed, it brought up good memories and so I know he had to feel better, even if it was know more than my granddaughter loved me enough to fly here and come see me.


Did you know and I mentioned it before that because of our food and the environment that every third person will have Alzheimer’s.  That is shocking statistics which means that some of us reading this,  could be reading about our future.  We really need to rally around our friends and relatives, don’t you think?  Do we want our family and friends dealing with this alone?


The one thing I have learned is that, let’s say we went to visit our loved one and it didn’t go well.  Take for example, there was a situation with my mother, where my sister was visiting with her, and she was taking her out.  My mother said, O,  I forgot to put on deodorant.  My sister said, no I saw you put it on.  My mother said I don’t remember doing it.  Well an argument ensued, things got out of control.  When all my sister had to say.  Ok I will wait while you put some on.  So I told that to tell this.  There is education needed when dealing with people with Alzheimer’s.  There are all kinds of information out there how to talk to these individuals, I have even seen information on Facebook.  Please take the time to read this information so that, when you do visit it becomes a good experience for all concerned.


Again, this poor man, that was pleading and by the way crying, was telling his friends, if you would just come by for 10 minutes you don’t have to stay long.  My heart went out to this man.  His wife wrote, “we are both going through very difficult times.  If you think of how difficult it is to come visit, think of us who are dealing with difficult times, all the time.”  I hope this didn’t include their children, if they have any.  But this is a terrible disease.  They go in and out of reality and imagine that in his terrible experiences, he can never be told his best friends came by.   My sister use to take pictures of all events and visits so she could show it to my mother.  She would smile as she watched the individual and her reaction.  So I am pleading with anyone who have friends, that they once visited with, too please go and see them.


Also we live in such a selfish society,  that we don’t look into the future and realize that this could be us, and that we hope our friends care more about us than that.  I was thinking that most people believe in karma, I believe in what the Bible says and it is you reap what you sow.  So if we want to be treated better in the years to come, we have to treat others better now.  Yes it is uncomfortable, but it makes the other person feel better.  We really have to think about the other person.  And I have to be honest, I have been guilty to a degree about that myself.  Not in regards to Alzheimer’s but other illnesses.  I felt so sorry for that man that I wanted to help him plead but I need also to correct myself.


My guilt is my sister, who had a heart attack some years ago that left her in a coma for a month.  They thought she would be brain dead, but one of my sister’s insisted that anyone who stayed with her was to point her head toward the TV and pull her eyes open and hold her head so the pictures could be seen in her eyes.  She called it feeding her brain and the nurses were shocked to see my family doing that, but it worked.  My sister recovered except for she is like a broken record with a crack in it.  She doesn’t do it as much as she use to but she could be talking and would say this expression over and over.  Over time I couldn’t take it, so I called less and less.  Of course fortunately we have a large family and so, plenty of people are around her, but that doesn’t matter.  I should be calling her myself.  And as soon as I finish this post I am going to call her.  Because I am her oldest sister, and I am sure she wonders why I am not calling like I use to.  I really hadn’t thought about the hurt we cause when we don’t do our part for the people we are suppose to love.


So hoping this post open up our eyes to the pain we could be causing others.  I am hoping we realize that we really are our brothers keepers.  Life goes full circle and we want to be the kind of people who others will love more than themselves in the future to come.  I see those people who have all the support around them when they need it.  And most of the time when you see their story, or hear their story they were unselfish individuals who gave their all, and  those people remembered that and give them their full support.  I don’t think any of that man’s friends will read this article, but for those who will read this article, I pray that if there is an individual that needs your support out there, give it to them.  We are need to know that we are loved.

Marjorie Edwards

I feel one of the best ways to become good on a subject is to live it. My mother has Alzheimer's. I want people to know how to continue to show respect and love, but not give up thinking there is no way out. So because I have lived with Alzheimer's through my mother and researched it I am able to write informative information.

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