It Must be Lonely in There
It is hard to imagine what it must be like inside a brain with dementia or Alzheimers.
Alzheimers must be a lonely illness to have. And a scary one because of that. Imagine how it would feel not to remember the people around you, your family, not even yourself. That would make anyone anxious, wouldn’t it?
Would it be a little scary then to have someone tell you they were your husband, wife, son, daughter? Thankfully, the memory of spouse and close family seem to be among the last memories to go. But how strange it must feel to one going through it.
With the disease the individual becomes unable to express himself. It’s difficult to tell you if something hurts (and what), if and why they might be sad, if they are lonely, afraid to be alone in their rooms.
Should they need medical treatment, they are often unable to tell you what hurts or if/when it feels better. If they do remember some things, it’s almost harder, because then they don’t understand why it is so difficult. Parts of their former and usual lives are gone, and they can’t remember where they went.
Reaching out to each other
It’s no wonder the Alzheimer’s residents prefer to be together in the main living room. It explains why holding hands brings so much comfort. It must feel so good to have a connection, the sense of belonging that comes with it. It doesn’t have to be a loved one. The hand holding theirs becomes the loved one. As i’ve mentioned before, for spouses this is so difficult, so hard to see. But I hope you will be encouraged and comforted at the peace, and often instant calm, that comes from the contact.
How they must long for what they remember. I’ve seen men and women both pat their hands to their heads as though trying to knock the memories back in. As though they know something isn’t right. It can be so upsetting to them. When you really think about how it must feel, it is easier to see why.
It becomes clearer why some might hit out, grow angry or edgy. Why they might cry. Redirecting often helps when that happens. Suggesting a snack, sitting with them with a cup of tea. Perhaps comforting them, holding their hands, will provide the peace they need. Perhaps it will help alleviate the upset they are feeling.