First with respect! Once you understand that they literally can not put two and two together, this should calm you down or keep you from getting frustrated. If they can’t remember doing something let them do it again, even though you saw them do it. Remember, that you all are taking this Alzheimer’s road together.
What’s makes this such a terrible disease is that the outside of the person may look find. You can’t see the damage like you can if there was a cut or a bruise on them or something is broken. These people are terrified themselves at what is happening to them. They start to go into a shell because they are losing control. They become trapped inside this world. And ever so often they come out, or can remember only to go back.
My mother’s face when I would see her, always looked like she was in deep concentration. You started thinking that everyone was talking about her. Or we will be talking and she would just walk away. My mother was never like that. There are times I know out of frustration she would throw a tantrum. My mother was never like that. But remembering I was dealing with a disease and not my mother, I would be able to handle it calmly.
I will tell a funny story about my mom. She came to stay with me for a while and she never knew where I lived. And she would forget other things. But she told me she wanted to color her hair. So I said okay, lets look for your hair color. She said, Oh I know my hair color. She knew the brand and the number of the color. I laughed and said mama you don’t know where you are but you remember your hair color. It just goes to prove that Alzheimer’s is about not being able to make new memories. It is at the very end that the all the memories go.
Once, one of my sisters was staying with my mother. When they were about to leave the hotel they were staying in, my mother told her, she hadn’t put on any deodorant. My sister told her she had, my mother told her she hadn’t. Well it ended up with my mother getting frustrated and hitting my sister. When my sister told me about it, I let her know she should have just let her put the deodorant on.
Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. We have to get into their world and really understand. This helps the caretaker too.
Take for instance, my mother was always losing her purse. Then she wondered who could have taken it. I would see her looking under the bed, looking through the drawers, just everywhere. Because in the beginning before we understood what we were dealing with, we would get frustrated. We may not say anything, but I am sure the attitude showed. Once we understood what we were dealing with, we would say, Mom I will help you look for it. After a while we knew she was putting her purse in some usual place. And we would start looking and find it. We knew the next day we would be hunting for her purse.
In the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, it is very easy to make them feel embarrassed. Sometimes my mother thought we were talking about her, behind her back. Later on in the disease, my once known mild mother became aggressive. One of her friends told us that she was afraid to ride with her because she started driving dangerously. And when you would mentioned it to her, she would get angry.
Once, when my sister who she lives closest to, convinced her to stay with her and her husband for the night. She got up the next morning and told my sister. O what a beautiful hotel room. My sister said Mom you don’t remember this is my house. When she noticed my mother started looking stressed trying to remember. My sister said, it is a beautiful room. My mother would forget so quickly, so she would calm down. Later on my sister said, she started remembering where she was.
My sister started watching videos on how to deal with Alzheimer patients and told the rest of us to do the same. She said it was so helpful, because she learned instead of trying to pull my mother out of her world, it was better to join her in hers. It made it easier on my sister and it was less stressful on my mother.
There are sites that, based on what your loved one is doing, it will tell you what stage of Alzheimer’s they are in. Tell you the level of comprehension they have and frustration they have. How to go into their world. But my sister Terrie who is in the medical profession made a point. She said don’t let it take over your world, that is the caregiver’s world. If you can afford some help, get it, so you can come out of this stressful condition for awhile. There are organizations out there that can help you. Take the time to do the research so you can get some help. See if members of your religious place of worship will come and give you some help. That has been a big aid to our family.
Yes, our mother our new loved one had changed. She had no control on those changes. I can’t imagine how it is to be fading in and out of reality. Wanting to control it but can’t. If we love these individuals, if we respect them, it is going to be so much easier on us, if we take the time to learn how to join them in their world. When I would be with my mother, because I had studied how to deal with her, it was much easier on me.