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My father used to be able to quote P/E ratios of stocks in his portfolio. Now he's more likely to blow up an egg in the microwave. Slowly he's lost many mental abilities, much like turning off circuit breakers one at a time; you can see each room growing dim as a circuit closes down.
Then again, he'll still make the same jokes, tell the same stories and likes the same things as he did before. Try to expect less, enjoy the parts that still work.
Remember having birthday parties for kids when they're one, two, three, four years old. Do any of us remember them? Maybe a few of us have photos and fondly look at them. But for the most part we forget. The kids enjoy the party, we enjoy the party, friends enjoy the party. It's the same for a birthday party for a person with Alzheimer's. Maybe they'll know it's today, maybe they'll only remember for the few minutes just after you tell them and have the cake. But in anycase, what's it hurt to have a cake, some smiles and a party.
Imagine that your brain is falling apart, bits of it breaking up here and there, some parts squeeking and not working right. Your needs become different. We often feel that a person with Alzheimer's needs to enjoy what the did before to be happy, it's not true. It's up to us as the caregivers to reevaluate, readjust and respond. If what makes her happy is looking at the same magazine over and over, hey it's reruns. Why not. If he likes to just sit at his desk for hours and sort thru photos, alright! Encourage their small pleasures, it's theirs to have. It's often like watching them return to childhood, enjoy the innocence and simplicity.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|