Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Memory People

One of the most helpful things I did recently was to join the "Memory People" group on Facebook.  It was started by author Rick Phelps after he was diagnosed, in his 50s, with early stage Alzheimers.  He decided to document what he was going through and wrote a book, "While I Still Can."  Realizing that he eventually would reach a point where he could no longer t ell his story, he collaborated with Gary Joseph LeBlanc, whose father had died of Alzheimers.  I found it a helpful book.

But he also founded the Memory People group for people with memory diseases and those caring for them.  His Alzheimers is progressing, so he doesn't contribute that often, but when he does it is particularly helpful.

After my mother's day of being so restless a couple of weeks ago, I posted a note to the group and today got this wonderful explanation back from Rick.  It doesn't help solve the problem, but it gives me insight into what is going on in her brain:

When I awake, everyday, I am unsure of where I am, what is going on and things like that.

Think of it as being on vacation and waking up in the middle of the night, being disorientated and not knowing where you are or what is going on.

This is how it can be for a dementia patient in their on home, in their own bed. The brain for whatever reason does not allow you to recognize where you are.

And from there, stress ensues and confusion just snowballs. Sometimes as in your Mothers situation, Bev,
she just cannot figure out what is going on, but by keeping busy or saying there is something she should be doing takes her mind off of being so confused.

I don't know this is happening, I am just sharing what goes on with me. Not everyday, not every morning, but more often than not. And chances are this will get worse as the disease progresses.

I am sorry she and you are both dealing with this. Calm her, reassure her, and whatever she thinks needs to be done, agree with her. And tell her you will both make sure that whatever it is is done together. Sometimes this will help. Sometimes...

She tells me so often that she feels like she should be doing something that this explanation helps a lot to help me understand what that must mean for her, and to try to find a way to help her feel calmer about where she is.

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