Alzheimer’s Disease: A Defense in Scary Times

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by Ray Burow |

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People who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease live a somewhat sheltered life. Under normal circumstances, this isn’t a good thing.

Separation created by Alzheimer’s disease is loathsome — that is, until the world around us seems to implode. One of the few positives of dementia is that it provides shelter from unpleasant events.

Sometimes the truth hurts

The events and subsequent turmoil over the last few weeks causes heads to spin, but many, if not most, people with dementia are unscathed. They remain blissfully unaware of the nastiness that pervades television screens and social media platforms, unaware of the travesties leveled against humankind. The brutality with which humans inflict pain and suffering goes unnoticed, and for this, caregivers are grateful.

A blessing in disguise

Caregivers learn to be grateful when an aged mother, father, or grandparent doesn’t have the cognitive capacity to comprehend evil perpetuated on an individual or society as a whole. Sheltering them from the terrible events of a nation plagued with violence and sorrow upon sorrow, we strive to keep our loved one in the dark.

It is the one time in the history of our loved one’s disease that we view it as a blessing in disguise. It is a blessing that our loved one isn’t exposed to the wretchedness that cognitively functioning minds are forced to process. However, loved ones in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease are capable of picking up on current events, though there is still a problem with processing.

As discussed in a previous Treading Dark Waters column, it is essential that caregivers protect the cognitively impaired from information overload. Plan how your family will consume media. How it is consumed will affect the person in your home who has Alzheimer’s disease, and the effects are often negative.

When truth is stranger than fiction

Disturbing images and graphic flashes of brutality played out in the media are difficult to process for minds that are intact cognitively. It can leave us feeling helpless, vulnerable, and exposed. For the person with cognitive issues, those emotions are multiplied. People with Alzheimer’s are unable to process the unnerving, fear-producing pictures.

Alzheimer’s patients can have trouble separating truth from fiction. Imagine the confusion and despair when life’s truths become stranger than fiction. Censorship isn’t a dirty word when it comes to protecting your loved one from the pain, fear, and sorrow that will invariably plague them post newscast.

Keeping a secret is sometimes best

It’s said that every person has at least one secret that would break your heart. Don’t break your loved one’s heart. Keep tragic news a secret, if it doesn’t directly affect them. No good comes from exposing him or her to information over which they have no control or understanding.

This is one instance where caregivers can subtract a small portion of the heavy burden laid on a person with Alzheimer’s, and carry it on their behalf.

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Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.

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