I don’t mean lots of different ‘paper forms’ to fill out, like job applications or Census forms. No, I mean the many and various forms of dementia, and Alzheimer’s comes in many degrees, guises, and intensities. My late wife’s form was characterised by her (apparent) almost total loss of memory of all that occurred more than a few minutes before. Although Dorothy always ‘knew’ me, it seemed, in the last year or so, that I was a friendly visitor rather than her husband. And I learned to simply just love her even more…and hope and pray.
I know, mostly by observing those who were living with Dorothy at her care home, that Alzheimer’s covers a huge range of memory loss, cognition, behaviour, and responsiveness – not to mention every other personality attribute and condition! It seems that an ability for social interaction and reaction, and the person’s verbal ability is yet another significant factor in this condition we call Alzheimer’s. All of that complex range of conditions indicate the incredible variety of ways dementia shows in individuals and determines the person’s apparent level of ‘happiness’. The same but different!
This was brought home to me graphically when I watched the later life-changes over time of a Sydney mother, depicted on Facebook by her son and his family. The changes happening to his ‘Oma’ were predicably incremental and he shows, and tells with narrative and pictures, how the family adapted and coped. His story is one of amazing love and empathy, replicated in different ways by different families; but his site is a brilliant portrayal which personalises and takes us through his story, their story.
It’s the story of a journey nothing like mine, or perhaps yours, but it is a riveting and positive process and emotionally uplifting. Have a look, see how this young man has gone beyond just telling us about his mother. He involves his viewers, he encourages and strengthens us to develop and enhance a strong empathy with our loved one who’s life is changing in front of us, often in ways we can hardly fathom.
Dorothy’s Alzheimer’s dementia story is totally different, as you may know, but a creative response to any or all forms always needs love, and here is an example, extraordinaire.
To know what I mean, have a look at it here: https://www.facebook.com/omasapplesauce You are going to love what he is doing, it goes way beyond a simple story….see how he is reaching out, using his photographic and writing skills on Facebook. Then let him, and me, know how you felt about his story! I’m not asking you to fill out another form! Just a note will do……