When talking about Alzheimer’s disease there are a few components that come to mind. Some of these components may be associated with other diseases and losses. If this is hereditary does that mean I will get it, what do I say to the individual, and what do I say to the family?
I broach this subject after visiting a few family members, one of whom has Alzheimer’s. Yes, this is hereditary and has touched several family members and generations. What do you say?…Phhhh, that is a BIG question.
To the care givers I offer support and a willingness to visit the person in the care facility with them or alone. I encourage self-care for the caregivers. Just being there with family is a way of supporting them. No words are necessary.
I noticed the smile on my cousin’s face when I said I was going to the nursing home with my aunt for a visit. I wonder, does this mean they are not alone? Does this send a message of I still care and I’m not afraid to accept the lot life has dished out for them? When I say afraid, there is a connotation that I know this could happen to someone else I care about and has in the past.
The aloneness felt by the family is immense. Seeing a family member who is not the same as you remember them growing up is sad, but one thing that I saw in the Alzheimer person, was the twinkle in his eyes, the tender childlike smile on his face and the gentle way he pulled me through the hall ways.
I sense he knew the heart felt connections without really knowing who I was.
Perhaps, this is part of your loss story and if so, I understand.
All my best,
Barbara J. Saunders