Posts Tagged ‘recognize’

5 Things I Learned From People With Alzheimer’s

Friday, February 21st, 2014

1.    Pets, children, music and art may reach them on levels we cannot: I have experienced numerous examples of the positive effects these things can have on people with Alzheimer’s. Sometimes pets, children, music or art can bring about connections even with people who no longer talk or recognize their loved ones.

2.    Just because they don’t talk doesn’t mean they aren’t perfectly aware of what’s going on around them: One of my ladies didn’t talk anymore so when I visited I just held her hand and talked to her softly. When I told her she must be very proud of her daughter she adamantly shook her head from side to side, indicating ‘no.’ That told me she understood perfectly well what I was saying.

 3.    Correcting them about something will probably either embarrass them or else start a big argument: To avoid embarrassing the person or, even worse, to avoid a major argument, try agreeing with whatever they say, even if it’s wrong. It takes some time to master this approach, but it is usually successful.

4.    They can still enjoy life: Many people assume that people with Alzheimer’s can’t enjoy life. However, several experts I interviewed unanimously agreed that although Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease, people who have it can and do still have the capacity to enjoy life.

5.    People with Alzheimer’s may remember past love and also experience love in the present: Once I showed Ed an old picture of us together. He said, “Ah . . . She loved me.” He didn’t realize I was the woman in the picture but he remembered that she had loved him.


Why You Should Keep Visiting Loved Ones With Dementia – Even If They Don’t Recognize You

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Here are some reasons to keep visiting loved ones with dementia, even if they don’t recognize you:

1)    They May Recognize You but Not Be Able to Express it

It’s always possible that your loved ones do recognize you but are just not be able to show it.

I had a personal experience which I believe demonstrates this. Doris, a lady I volunteer to visit, was so frail that the most I could do with her was hold her hand. She never showed any sign of recognizing me from my previous visits.

Then one day as I was holding her hand she put her other hand on my arm and began caressing it. I had the distinct feeling that she remembered me. I don’t think she would have been so openly affectionate with a total stranger.

2)    They May Remember How Often You Visit Even if They no Longer Recognize You

I was speaking at an Alzheimer’s family support group recently. A man there told me that he visited his wife, who had advanced-stage dementia, nearly every day even though she didn’t recognize him.  But whenever he missed a day, she’d always say, “You didn’t come yesterday.”

 3)    They May Enjoy Being Visited, Even if They Don’t Know Who You Are

Although Ed, my Romanian life partner with dementia, always recognized me, he had many visitors he didn’t remember. I observed some of these visits and it was always perfectly obvious that he enjoyed spending time with them.  When they were there he’d often hold hands with one of them the whole time. And he’d have a long, pleasant talk with them.

4)    You May Feel Gratified That You’ve Given Them Pleasure

Although the main focus of your visits are your loved ones, you might find there’s an unexpected benefit for you, too. You may initially feel hurt or frustrated that they don’t remember you, but if you can get over that hurdle and if it’s clear that they enjoy the visit, you will probably feel gratified that you gave them that pleasure.