Sunday, June 14, 2015

Another thing I have learnt...

Empathy and understanding...

Caregivers will find that these are often sadly lacking for those with Alzheimer's as it is such a difficult disease to deal with. Some in the medical profession have made it an area of specialty but not many. The same may be said of nurses. A patient with Alzheimer's who has to go into hospital often deteriorates over this time due to the lack of understanding with how to deal with the patient who is so confused and becomes more so often resulting in anxieties which may not have been present before.

Friends and family try to be supportive but often at a distance. Many just want to 'remember the person as they were' and would rather not have a lot to do with the person or limited contact. This does not necessarily mean they don't care but just that they don't know how to react or sometimes simply that they have other things going on in their lives so don't want to deal with it. Others are frightened of the disease due to a lack of understanding of the disease. Of course this is not everyone but unfortunately it does include a large number of the population. Part of this is due to ignorance. It is a disease that is difficult to understand as it is not the same for any two people. I found my young grandson who stayed earlier this year was actually the best. He is 8 years old and just treated everything as being normal especially his dealings with George, they just continued as normal and George really responded to that.

I often find things vary from day to day while at other times from hour to hour. Strangely enough you will also get people who think that they know more about how to manage your life than you do. As it is impossible to know as it changes so frequently this advice rarely holds water. From bitter experience I have learnt not to argue or discuss it but to let them give the advice and feel that they have done their bit and then just go on to manage to fit the situation. Until you actually live with someone with Alzheimer's for a prolonged period of time you actually have no idea. It is no wonder that caregivers can become isolated as often it is only people in the same situation that can understand what it is like and others really don't want to know.

Many people try and have a conversation with a person with Alzheimer's and they treat them as a child. This comes out as condescending and is not appreciated by the person, they do know and do want to be treated as  a normal human being. Mum used to get very frustrated with people treating her like this.

Best way to deal with people is to smile, don't argue and let a lot of the advice roll over you although do listen as some ideas may have merit.


  1. Hi Di,

    I keep trying to leave comments on this blog, but for some reason it keeps not accepting them. And it seems I don't see you on my blog anymore either. I'm not sure why that is but it makes me feel sad because you have so many interesting observations to share, and I would want to share the more broadly with others. But I can't seem to reach you! Maybe this one will get through…

  2. Think I am now onto it. Not too sure what has been going on. Thanks so much for all your comments.