A Personal Experience With Alzheimer’s Disease

They say patience is a virtue

Personal Experience With Alzheimer’s DiseaseEvery morning I wake promising myself I will try harder, and be better when it comes to patience. I will become more virtuous. It was not until I had to deal with caring for my own mother after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis that my ability to practice patience was tested daily.

My mother’s behavior varied from day to day and followed no pattern or rationale. It always seemed that her belligerent behavior reared its head when I was trying to get something done. If I was setting the table for dinner, she would collect the knives and forks,.If I was folding the laundry, she would unfold. If I was trying to help her dress, well that was always the worst, and it seemed we got nothing accomplished.

I would talk to friends or family members about my frustrations. My venting would always lead to them offering what they thought was helpful advice. They would ask, “Why do you think she’s doing this?” Or my favorite, “Have you tried explaining to her….?” I understood logically that everyone was well intended, but the advice was never realistic. I would cringe and get annoyed every time someone uttered a sentence that began, “What you should do is…” or “Why don’t you try…”. They simply did not understand, or at least that was how I felt.

I would continue to deal with my frustrations; I saw it as my shortcoming. After all, this woman had cared for me my entire life. Why couldn’t I do for her what she had always done for me? There were days I had all the patience I needed, but I not as often as was necessary. I did learn to talk more with people who were going through what I was going through. Others who were dealing with similar issues understood I needed to vent and would listen. Still, I wanted to do better for my mother.

I stumbled across this short poem which was written from the Alzheimer’s victim’s point of view. I don’t know who wrote it or when it was written, or I would credit them here. I offer it here now because it helped change my thinking. The challenges still exist, but these words gave me a different point of view and helped me. I hope these words help you through your challenges and pain.

ALZHEIMER’S REQUEST

  • Do not ask me to remember, don’t try to make me understand.
  • Let me rest and know you’re with me, kiss my cheek and hold my hand.
  • I’m confused beyond your concept, I’m sad and sick and lost.
  • All I know is that I need you to be with me at all cost.
  • Do not lose your patience with me, do not scold or curse or cry.
  • I can’t help the way I’m acting; I can’t be different though I try.
  • Just remember that I need you, that the best of me is gone.
  • Please don’t fall to stand beside me, love me ‘til my life is gone.

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