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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Visiting a Friend with Late Stage Alzheimer's

Visiting a Friend with Late Stage Alzheimer's

Verbal communication stops before the ability to interpret nonverbal cues. One of the first connections an infant makes is between a soothing touch or tone of voice and relief from physical distress. A smile is associated with being held and cuddled, music with being rocked. People in late stage Alzheimer’s sometimes find comfort in a soft blanket or stuffed toy that must bring back a sense of the security of early childhood. When words have lost meaning, nonverbal lines of communication will be left open. Remember the acronym “B-E-S-T” for ways you can continue to connect...

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