Our beloved friend has Alzheimer's

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luvdogs
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 184
   Posted 5/31/2006 12:28 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello everyone.
 
I've posted in your forum before about volunteering in nursing homes with my therapy dogs.  Many of the residents have Alzheimers, and I want to thank all of you that replied to my post several months ago.  I have such great admiration and gratitude to all of the caregivers of Alzheimer's patients, as well as to the Alzeheimer's patients themselves.
 
With my two therapy dogs, we have visited many facilites over the last several months, including our local hospital, schools, libraries, and nursing homes.  By far, however, we have most enjoyed our visits to the loving and gracious residents of the nursing homes.  We have befriended one resident, and she has become near and dear to our hearts.  She is an 87 year old woman with beautiful eyes and a precious smile.  Her heart is as big as Texas.  Before she entered the nursing home, she had to find a home for her beloved dog, which devastated her beyond description.  Therefore, my dogs and I have helped her cope with an otherwise difficult life in the nursing home.  To say the least, we have been honored and blessed to meet this precious lady.
 
When my dogs and I visit our special friend, she always invites them into her bed, which they gladly accept.  As she pets and hugs my soft and warm dogs, we talk and exchange stories.  For the most part, she is usually sharp as a tack.  On some occasions, however, I've noticed that her memory begins to fade, and she begins to confuse the present with the past.  This particularly happens whenever she is stressed or tired.  For example, when we visited last week, she initially seemed fine.  She told me all about her childhood and shared some wonderful stories with me about growing up in the 1930's.  Then, right before we were getting ready to leave, she asked what time the dogs had their class that night.  I was confused and asked her again what she meant.  She repeated the same question, and this time, she was slightly agitated.  After thinking about it, I responded, "Yes, they go to school tonight.  And they didn't do their homework, so the teacher will be mad!"  That made her laugh, and she appeared content again. My dogs completed their obedience classses two years ago, when they were puppies, which was before we had ever met her.  So, she must have been confusing my situation with one from her past. 
 
I was later told by her caretaker that our dear friend has been diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.  I suppose that I wasn't surprised by that, but it still broke my heart.  Now, this dear lady feels like a grandmother to me.  I'm now trying to learn all that I can about Alzheimer's, and that is why I'm posting in this forum.  If anyone can shed some light on this disease with me, I'd greatly appreciate it.  What is the best way to respond to her when her memory begins to lapse?  Is it best to respond like I did with the dog school question?   Also, I've noticed that our friend starts to get REALLY upset with herself when she can't remember something.  For example, she was talking about how much she enjoys reading books, and she said that she really wanted to read one particular book.  She couldn't think of the name of the book, and she was getting really frustrated and angry at herself for her memory lapse.  I asked her what the book was about, and she remembered that it had something to do with an artist.  "The Da Vinci Code?" I answered.  "YES!", she said with excitement.  "That's it.  I really want to read it!"  Then, she calmed down considerably.  She asked if I had the book, which I do, and she asked if she could read it.  So, during our next visit, I took the book to our dear friend, and her eyes lit up when she saw it.  A big smile took over her face.  I realized that she most likely would not be able to read the book, but I went ahead and took it to her anyway because just seeing the book was therapeutic in and of itself for her.  Does my logic make sense to anyone, or should I have just not taken her the book?  Even though she hasn't tried to read it, she is proudly displaying it on her telephone stand.  It doesn't matter to me whether or not she reads it.  Goodness, I haven't even read it!  I just don't know if I did the right thing in taking her that book.  Also, what is the best way to respond to her when she starts to get frustrated and angry with herself when she can't remember something?
 
I'm sorry for my rather long post.  My dogs and I care about our sweet friend immensely, and we want to support her in every way possible.  Even though her memory fades from time to time, she ALWAYS remembers my two dogs and myself.  Recently, she looked me straight in the eye and thanked me for being her friend.  "You have provided me with something to look forward to every day," were her exact words.  She has done the same for us.  It scares me that Alzheimer's may rob her mind completely in the coming months.  We will be there for her, no matter what, and I just want to make sure that I will be as good of a friend as possible.  Again, I would greatly appreciate any information anyone can share with me.  Thanks so much.
 
With kind regards,
Ali
"The most called-upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear."  Maya Angelou


Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 5/31/2006 6:27 AM (GMT -6)   
Ali I am so sorry ........We will help you get thru this and be there for her any way we can I promise.......There is a man Padraig that has some great input into the forum plus Snowy and Nance.......I know this has to be hard on you I have read your posts about her before.......I have to go to the passport office today but please email me and we can chat okay ........You are being the best friend she could have right now ....you are doing the greatest thing you could possibly do and thats love her........I am hoping to talk to you later.....God Bless You and your Dogs.......Lynl
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 Let That Strong Spirit Be Your Guide 
 
 A real friend walks in when the rest of the world walks away
  
 
  
 


Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 6/1/2006 7:26 AM (GMT -6)   
How are you doing today ....God Bless..Lyn
    Contribute today to support Healing Well Forums...Donate @
 
 Let That Strong Spirit Be Your Guide 
 
 A real friend walks in when the rest of the world walks away
  
 
  
 


luvdogs
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 184
   Posted 6/1/2006 12:34 PM (GMT -6)   

Hi Lyn,

Thank you so, so much for your reply.  It means volumes to me.  I hope that it was okay that I posted in the Alzheimer's forum.  Even though this dear lady is not a family member, she certainly feels like one.

And thank you for asking how I'm doing too.  How incredibly caring of you.  For the past couple of days, I've been having a really hard time.  Sometimes, life stressors can add up to become rather overwhelming. 

Yesterday, my nursing home friend took me out to lunch at a local restaurant.  Her estate manager/power of attorney picked her up from the nursing home and brought her to the restaurant.  It brought tears to my eyes that this wonderful lady wanted to take me to lunch.  We had a good time, and I will always cherish every minute I get to spend with this precious lady.

The waitress asked her what her name was yesterday, and she couldn't remember.  But she knew my name, as well as the names of my dogs. 

Also, thank you for letting me e-mail you sometime.  I'll take you up on that in the next few days.  I wish that I could do more to help my friend.  She has no family left, and she often feels very alone.  Yesterday, the waitress took a picture of my friend and I at the restaurant table, and once I transferred the image off my digital camera and onto my camera, I started crying buckets.  I've grown so close to her, and it hurts so bad that she is having to deal with all of these problems during the final phase of her life.

Thank you again, and God bless.

Ali


"The most called-upon prerequisite of a friend is an accessible ear."  Maya Angelou


SnowyLynne
Veteran Member


Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 1539
   Posted 6/1/2006 4:15 PM (GMT -6)   
I was dx with Alazheimer's nearly 9 yrs ago.It's a Neurodegenerate illness,& is terminal.I do not suffer as many think we do.I have no pain except from Arthritis,but as we age somethings gonna hurt,lol.
With the medications they have now there's no reason a person HAS to progress as fast as they would without the medications.I firmly believe in the medications for AD............................
SnowyLynne


Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 6/1/2006 5:32 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks Snowy for your input ..always appreciated ......

Ali ......you are more than welcome to post here anytime thats what this forum is for the caretakers,loved ones and families / friends .........you are a great friend to this Lady and I am so proud of you for giving your time and love it is a hard DD to deal with at times and most peeps will not take on the responsibily even .......Family!!
Once you become close and give your heart it will always be full of love and concern for her .......I am gald you got a picture and it shows your love for her with the tears you shed.....dont ever stop having empathy for her or others like her ........Your heart is a big as Texas and I for one and proud to know that you are so special a friend to her and a person I call friend .........Yes please do email me or my MSN is up there......take care hun and know you are so "Special" and even though she has this DD she knows deep down you are there for her........God Bless....
  BTW there is a site thru HW resources Alzinfo .Org that I go to and also read Padraigs story " Message To Send " I will bump a few things up for you as well ........Snowy and Always Rosie are great as well for their input as are the others on this forum...........God Bless.......Lyn
    Contribute today to support Healing Well Forums...Donate @
 
 Let That Strong Spirit Be Your Guide 
 
 A real friend walks in when the rest of the world walks away
  
 
  
 

Post Edited (Lyn (Howlyncat)) : 6/1/2006 4:37:12 PM (GMT-6)


Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/5/2007 6:10 AM (GMT -6)   
Ali
Just wondering how you are doing and how your sweet friend is
Post when you are able okay
Take care sweetie
Luvs
Lyn
    Contribute today to support Healing Well Forums...Donate @
 
 
 Never compromise your self nor your dignity... 
 Dream, Reach and Believe ......
 
 
          ** When You FEEL Anothers Pain You FEEL Humbled ** 
 
   
                             
 Co Mod @ Crohns                                     
 Moderator@ Alzheimer's 
 Moderator @ Anxiety/Panic
 
                                     LYN
                                  
                          
                                  


Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/7/2007 6:07 PM (GMT -6)   
bump
    Contribute today to support Healing Well Forums...Donate @
 
 
 Never compromise your self nor your dignity... 
 Dream, Reach and Believe ......
 
 
          ** When You FEEL Anothers Pain You FEEL Humbled ** 
 
   
                             
 Co Mod @ Crohns                                     
 Moderator@ Alzheimer's 
 Moderator @ Anxiety/Panic
 
                                     LYN
                                  
                          
                                  

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