“I wish to do something great and wonderful, but I must start by doing the little things like they were great and wonderful.” — Albert Einstein
With more than 5 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s disease
, most of us either know someone who has been diagnosed or are acquainted with a caregiver. Our initial response might be pity, but caregivers and patients with Alzheimer’s disease don’t want pity, though we do long to have someone understand what we’re going through.
It’s almost too much to ask, since it’s difficult for anyone on the outside of dementia to grasp its gravity. Still, a well-thought-out attempt goes a long way.
What would you do?
Imagine yourself in a similar situation. What response would be appropriate to address your feelings? The correct response may be to just be there, present in your friend’s mourning and sadness. Respond with a listening ear when your friend needs to vent. You could also find a practical way to get involved to help heal a friend’s heartache.
Choose one of the following ideas or come up with a plan that is unique to your friend’s experience and act on it.
A loss of good friends is one of the problems faced by people with Alzheimer’s disease. It’s an understandable, yet unacceptable problem.
The changes brought on by dementia affect friendships as dementia begins to take its toll on the brain. The person affected may have days when they don’t remember you. Shared experiences become one-sided memories, as the person with dementia loses more and more of themselves.