I've avoided spotlighting these two posts that I wrote for my Our Alzheimer's blog, as I refer to Dorian Martin, without explaining who she is. People who read that blog already know, so it wasn't necessary.The response to these posts has convinced me that I need to offer them here. I'll just add that the Dorian Martin I refer to is a fellow blogger on Our Alzheimer's. Her mother had Alzheimer's and she has some excellent posts on the subject. One of her posts triggered this first post.
Thursday, I'll spotlight the one that followed, after an author and reader who, himself, has Alzheimer's disease (his book is remarkable and I direct you to it in the post), disagreed with me. He had excellent insight, even though we were comparing apples and oranges to some degree. The posts together show how complicated caregiving can be, and how there is no "right" answer.
So, here's my first post titled "Coping with the Alternate Realities of Dementia Patients"
When we honestly think about it, each of us has a slightly different perception of reality than the person sitting right next to us. And that is, we presume, with fully functioning brains. So, why wouldn't a person with dementia think his or her reality is, well-real? During my dad's decade of dementia, I never knew which reality he would be in, on any given day. Was he playing in Lawrence Welk's band? Was he a medical doctor? Was he waiting for his Ph.D. diploma to come in the mail?
My first order of business, each day, was to find out who my dad was. I was generally his office assistant, so my role was defined, if not easy. Once I talked with him a bit (assuming it was a day when he could communicate), I'd spring into action. Did he need a letter written to the mayor, or even the president? Did he need me to follow up one of his research projects he'd been asked to do? Did a general need to consult with him? Well, you get the idea.