Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Understanding an Alzheimers Patient

My Ex-sister-in-law has Alzheimers disease. I had visited her at her home a few times while her mother went bowling. She doesn't talk but would chuckle sometimes when I talked to her.

Recently she started to fall down a lot and was refusing to get into bed. Her mother couldn't get her up and into bed. After this started to happen a few times, her mom decided to place her in a nursing home (something she had never wanted to do). I have visited her in the nursing home and have tried to talk with her but I'm not really sure if she understands what I'm saying. I don't know how to go about communicating with her. I would smile and perhaps talk to her in a empathetic way and she would look at me with a blank expression. Since being admitted to the nursing home; it seems as though she has almost shut down (I'm just guessing). The other day I went to see her and she just looked at me and then stared into space.

Tonight I went to visit her and she was at dinner. When she saw me, it seemed as though she recognized me as someone she knew. Again she didn't talk, and I hadn't heard the little chuckle at all. I talked to her, trying this time to act normal like I used before she contacted this dreadful disease. I hugged her and showed her some affection when she began to regurchitate her food. I brought a picture album and showed her pictures, talking to her and reminding her who everyone is. She seemed very interested and at one point, she chuckled.

If anyone out there can tell me anything about a person with Alzheimers disease and how to communicate with them; if they possibly understand when you talk to them even if they aren't talking, I would appreciate some information that would help me to relate to her. Thank you in advance.


Blogger Rose said...

Sorry I can't help you on this one. My faternal grandfather suffered from it. It was hard on us all. We had to put him in a nursing home because he kept walking away from the house at all times of the the night. Check the website of the Alzheimers Association. They may have some information listed that can help.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...


The first thing that came to mind is the movie "The Notebook." The story portrays the depth of commitment from those who remember, care, and love...regardless.

I hope that you are able to continue to visit with her and communicate love through your touch and tone of voice. Though it isn't familiar, it certainly must be comforting.


10:52 PM  
Blogger The Gig said...

Thank you Rose and Rosemarie Ute Hoffman: I did get some advice from a co-worker whose dad had it and she said to talk about fun things way in the past and to play old music, etc. Their short-term memory goes before the long-term memory.

4:05 PM  
Blogger David Cho said...

That is a tough disease which I hope to steer clear of.

Please keep us updated on this.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Brotha Buck said...

This is so sad. She was always so sharp and kept herself up nice. I hope it doesn't run in the family. I keep thinking I'm forgetting stuff. And she's relatively young.

8:05 AM  

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