As my family makes the journey with my mother through the stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, I have noticed a peculiar development in my mom’s dialogue. My mom is not an outspoken person; however she has recently begun to formulate stories based on actual, current situations where she is the “hero” of the story.
First story: during an emergency room visit, she decided that she was thirsty and that everyone in the waiting room was thirsty, too. Apparently, everyone was being kept from water and she, my mom, related how she made her way through the crowd to a small stage. She got up on stage and shouted to the room, “Water for everyone!” My mom retold this story through the day and for days afterward. She was very pleased with her role in providing this vital community service to the waiting room patients.
Second story: during the recent purchase of some vacant lots in Texas, my mom decided that it was due to her research and initiative that the family found the property and decided to buy it. She is convinced that if it weren’t for her efforts this wonderful opportunity would not have occurred. Furthermore she is certain that if she recommends a purchase that we are sure to follow her remarkable discovery and reap the benefit of her real estate prowess.
I understand she is experiencing frustration and fear with her condition. These stories and the retelling of the stories seem to bring her joy and comfort. They seem to provide a bit of power and control in her otherwise confused world. Has anyone else experienced this “hero” phenomenon with their Alzheimer’s impacted family member? I am very curious.