Wednesday Workshop – What’s Your Name? – When Your Loved One No Longer Recognizes You
We’ve heard caregivers say, time and time again, that Dementia can be such a cruel disease. We understand.
Spouses and adult children of people with Alzheimer’s disease often have to brace themselves for a time when their loved one will no longer recognize them.
Just Because We’re not Recognized, Doesn’t Mean We’re Forgotten
The pain of walking into a room and having your spouse or parent not recognize you can tear some people apart. What I say to people is that their loved one has not “forgotten them.” Even though the person may not indicate that your presence is known, it may well be that the touch of your hand, your smell or even your voice will get through to this person, somehow.
We believe in touching people, caring lovingly for them, speaking to elders and treating them as functioning human beings, no matter what their condition appears to be. If we’ve done our best to treat them in this fashion, than we know that they will have perceived whatever they are capable of perceiving. Hopefully, at the very least, they perceive that they are loved.
Photo Timeline for People With Alzheimer’s
With Alzheimer’s disease, short-term memory is destroyed. Therefore, while your spouse or parent may not know you as you look today (short-term memory), if you pulled out a photo album showing you 20 or 30 years ago, the person may recognize “you” right off the bat (long-term memory).
Your timeline should consist of pictures of yourself at various ages, from childhood on. Each picture should have a label underneath stating in large, black type, your name and your age at the time of the photo. This timeline can often trigger remembrance, as the person with Alzheimer’s “sees” you age.
This exercise doesn’t work for everyone, but the idea that it works for some people is intriguing. And, even if it doesn’t have the desired effect of helping the person with the disease understand who you are, the exercise of looking at old photos is still stimulating and often fun for them.
Don’t Give Up on Your Loved One
Do your best for those you love, even when it’s hard. This is not to say that you should give up your life – but do your best to learn and grow as a caregiver.
To contact the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center
For more information or additional ideas on how to connect with your loved one, please call us at (877) 760-9199. Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you again next week!