Dear Brother and Sister,
Recently I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Caring and Coping caregiver workshop put on by Alzheimer’s Tennessee. I want to share with you some of the things I learned.
We have to learn to live in her reality now. She is not going to remember what she ate at her last meal or that she even ate; that we watched the basketball game last night or even who won. She won’t remember that I am going to bible study tonight and she will call me by 6:05. She will ask me if she talked to you today and how you both are doing. She will not remember.
She will repeat stories and ask questions and tell me that I didn’t show her those pictures or that I moved something, and I don’t even know where it is or was. That everything is changing, and I changed it. She is going to have changes in her mood and personality. She might even get afraid or withdrawn. This is her reality now and we have to join it.
Our goal is to keep her healthy and safe by being positive and talking about good things she does remember. I have to watch my words and be careful about how I say things. Keep things where they are and where she remembers them being 50 years ago. We have to keep our questions short and answers simple. We need to write things down and have her take notes. No reason to get in a hurry or get upset, just go with the flow and her reality.
Over time things will only get worse, and as I am here and you are far away, I want you to be prepared to live in her reality.