"Is There Anything I Can Do to Help?"

"Is There Anything I Can Do to Help?"

Everyone seems to say “Let me know how I can help” when friends are going through a hard time. The problem with the question is how hard it is to answer. What do you ask for? What would not seem like too much? Our culture reinforces self-sufficiency, and in fairness, we are occasionally rebuffed in our attempts to help....

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A New Relationship

A New Relationship

. . . In your relationship with a friend in early AD, imagine instead sailing on the open sea without a ledger of rights and wrongs. Sailors can’t plan far ahead; they must work with the wind and waves of the moment. They can’t march off the boat in a huff over a brewing storm. They enjoy the sun when it is shining and the sea when it is calm, understanding the inevitability of rapid change. With a loved one in the early stage of dementia, you are more a sailor than a banker. Forgotten plans, one-sided conversations, and bouts of anger or frustration are part of a journey, always worthwhile in its larger contexts of humanity and compassion, if challenging from the standpoints of convenience and reciprocity. In working out the changes in the relationship...

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