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Reflections on Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease and the Role of the "Hero!"

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.

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Ruth Lepper May 28, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Robin, you are not alone in your journey through the world of Alzheimer's. But please remember, nor is your mother alone. Her world is very real to her.
Lois Knowlton May 30, 2011 at 04:33 PM
At the Poway Adult Day Health care Center we have many examples of seniors who have created a new reality for themselves. Come to the monthly support group for family caregivers, share your experiences and get helpful hints from others in the group who have been dealing with Alzheimer's Disease for some time. Liz Landram, MSW, facilitates this group that has been meeting for almost nine years. If you want to bring your mother with you, she can participate in the ongoing activities of the center (at no charge) during the support group. The meeting is the second Wednesday of every month from 10 to 11:30 a.m. It is free. Just call 858-748-5044 to let Liz know you are coming. The Center is in the Poway Business Park at 12250 Crosthwaite Circle.
BARBARA FAGER May 31, 2011 at 06:38 PM
This sounds like a wonderful program and worth attending but I wish they had a group support meeting held after normal work hours, for those of us that work 8-5p.m. M-F.

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