The Story So Far

  • I'm a writer, photographer, consultant. Age 51. My father was a reporter and editor. Then he became something other than that. He died February 8, 2010 at 87. He was widowed in 2003. His decline started a little earlier. His sister died of Alzheimer's.

May 2011

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Comments

Julie E

I have to say thank you again as the recent post is exactly where we are now in our descent. I'm still trying to make my husband see things by explaining and I respond with anger when he gets angry, escalating to tears and comments of "you should just leave," from him. I can't seem to get it that he just is no longer a person able to think rationally in some areas, but in others he can and seems so normal. I'm still stuck with my emotional brain running the show. But to have it explained so
well by your friend has made a bright spot in my day. I wonder though, would it be alright to just do as the old monk did and hit him in the head with a big stick?

Lucy

I think Mr. Kasanof has some excellent points about denial.

My rage has been in large part about the inability to let go of my illusions - it's been selfish. I think it also, paradoxically, has roots in the loyalty and respect I have for my mother. Conceding that she is not "reasonable" has felt both disloyal and disrespectful.

When I fight with my mom now, I think I am sometimes I am still attempting to assign a meaning to the situation. I accept that she is not capable of reason, but in the moment, if I can't divert it, I need there to be a reason for her rage. So I provide it by having a fight. Perhaps it's what my father was getting at when he used to tell me "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about."

Unsurprisingly, I don't find much more success with in approach than my dad must have.


Alan G. Ampolsk

Julie --
In "normal" relationships, we spend most of our time dealing with our idea of the other person, as opposed to the other person. Throw in Alzheimer's and it's much harder to get past that. As to the stick -- it might help. It might also help to be on the receiving end. In current American Zen settings, the stick is mostly voluntary -- you ask for it, usually when you're falling asleep during meditation. I don't have a fully formed opinion about whether that's a good thing, but understand that it can change your viewpoint.

Lucy --
As I mentioned in a post over on the alz.org caregivers' forum, I find I'm thinking a lot about past relationships -- especially with authority figures like parents -- and how they play out once Alzheimer's comes into the picture. I'll try to have more to say about that soon.

It's definitely harsh out here.

Roberta

My 83-yr-old mother is a smart cookie, so she tries to marshal rational responses as to why she doesn't need a caregiver.

She has a problem with weak lower eyelids so, to avoid surgery, she needs to tend to them morning and night. She swears she will do this, but I know she won't--and I live 2 hours away. I'm going to let her try, however.

She hated the part-time caregiver I hired for 3 weeks, wouldn't let her help in any way.

I'm the only child, on my own, and I am about to explode with caregiver rage. I've been watching her deterioration due to vascular dementia for almost 3 years now. An Alzhiemer's counselor told me that there will come a point where she'll be docile, but on the other hand I hear about someone's dad who got kicked out of two assisted living places for being so ornery.

Why does it feel like we're all going through this alone?

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