Saturday, July 19, 2014

Alzheimer's/Dementia: Journey to the Past



I was recently on Blogtalk Radio (see left side bar) with a talented group of authors, one of which was Sheila Seiler LaGrand.  Sheila is writing a wonderful series about a woman with Alzheimer's, "Remembering for Ruth." On the show, she made a comment that hit so close to home.  It's not all sadness and despair when a loved one has Alzheimers/Dementia. Sheila reminded me, and all of us, when our loved one's minds travel to the past, we can go right along with them.

 I remember visiting my grandmother and she would be sitting up, moving her hands as if she was sewing.  "What are you doing, Nannie?" I would ask.  "Making Helen a dress," she would reply, then go on to describe the dress in every detail.  She would also knit pot holders.  That was a happy place for her.  Her eyes shined and she smiled. Although her hands were empty, I could almost see the fabric or yarn.

My mother did the same thing, not with the sewing, but reliving events of her younger years.  I took a journey back in time, well before I was born, and experienced them with her.  I learned about things she had never spoken of before, precious memories.

The disease is heartwrenching, but we don't have to see it that way. We need to set aside the sadness and share their journey. Through their happiness -- comes strength and comfort.

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