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Published on: November 5, 2014
by Aging Care:
Men and women who are living with Alzheimer’s share their thoughts on what they’d like to tell the world:
I’ve been diagnosed, not defined, see the real me: “I am not a diagnostic or a statistic. I still have feelings, thoughts, dreams, hopes and plans. There are many things I can still do. I am not sitting in a wheelchair in a nursing home staring out the window—not yet. I am a vibrant, loving person. Always remember: I have Alzheimer’s, it does not have me.”
I can’t do this alone, help me: “I need you to help me find ways to succeed at helping others and in doing something significant with my life. I am very capable of putting thoughts together and expressing them. I sometimes need help understanding things, but that does not mean that I don’t understand. I sometimes need help expressing things, but that doesn’t mean I have no thoughts, and nothing to say. Help me when I need it, and let me do all I can, while I still can.”
I am worthy, respect me: “I need to feel that what I say and do matters. I have much yet to offer the world. In many ways, I have more to offer than someone who has not read the final chapter of their life yet. I have lived life, my life, and I am worthy of respect, just as I was before.”
I am scared, comfort me: “I am scared of the unknown. I don’t know if I have six months to communicate, or six years. I worry about going to bed at night and whether I’m going to be as bad tomorrow. This disease is with you 24/7. It’s my brain and I can’t get away from it—it is a scary thing.”
I crave compassion, love me: “I need to feel loved and needed, and that my contribution to life matters and helps someone else. I need to feel loved and not rejected because of my diagnosis. I need people to meet and accept me where I am at, right now…It’s important to understand that I don’t understand. I don’t have any idea why I forget some things and remember others. It’s not intentional—I just don’t have the ability to realize what I’m doing wrong.”
For the millions of families affected by Alzheimer’s disease, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America is providing tips on how to adapt holiday gatherings to make them as enjoyable as possible for someone living with Alzheimer’s or another...
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