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A Journey into forgetfulness

A Journey into forgetfulness

Have you ever had an experience where you knew …

The name of the person, it was on the tip of your tongue as they say, but ….it just eludes you, just stays slightly beyond your grasp.

Or you just had those car keys, sun glasses, …. but now what did you do with them? Where did you put them?

Now imagine …. that is your life. 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, that is your life.

You just can’t quite recall. It is something you should know but. …. It eludes you.

And day by day, week by week the things that slip just into the shadows of your mind where you can sort of glimpse them but can’t quite make out what they are grow and grow and slip further and farther away.


This is what this blog is about. A Journey into forgetfulness. With this blog I will discuss our own experiences with Alzheimer's disease in the hopes it will help others with family or friends with this illness

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

continual downward spiral

Living with someone with Alzheimer's means living in a world where things gradually but continually spiral downward.

On July 3 I returned from teaching English to Hispanic elementary students in Cuidad Miguel Alemán, México. I had went there in Early January with some hesitation because I knew it would leave my mother more or less on her own to handle my father who suffers from Alzheimer's. I was back briefly in March during the school's Spring Break. I think only by being away could I notice just how much has changed. Day to day you may not notice the change as much as you do by being gone a few weeks or months.

My father has much more difficulty eating and speaking. Before what he said might not be rational but now he has difficulty even forming the words. One improvement (from a care giver perspective) is that he now is getting up in the night less. My mother puts him to bed at about 9 pm and he sleeps until the next morning - about 9 or 10 pm. That is good for the people giving him care since they get more rest and he is less likely to wander away in the middle of the night. But that is also a sign of the disease worsening. Eventually he will not get out of bed at all if he lives that long.

If you know someone who is caring for an Alzheimer's victim, please understand that it is a difficult chore both physically and emotionally. Don't avoid visiting because you feel uncomfortable. The care giver needs visits. They need breaks from the constant grind. If you are in a position to give them some relief by staying with the victim, do so. It will be appreciated. People who have not cared for someone in this condition can not appreciate the enormity of the task or the strain it places on the care giver.

I will return to Mexico is a few weeks to teach again. It is some comfort to me that I know local people in the community will give her some help with my father. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be going back.

If you are the care giver, look for people to give you should aid and relief. Don't be ashamed to admit you could use some help. Taking care of the Alzheimer's victim is a constant strain but most people will not appreciate how difficult it is. They will not realize you need the help or the break unless you tell them. If you belong to a church, mention to the leaders that any help they (the church) could give would be appreciated. If it is just someone to watch the victim for an hour so you can get away that would help tremendously.