Lessons my Alzheimer mom taught me. Dave Otey 9-2014

In June of this year I published the piece ‘My Disappearing Mom’, describing her’s and our  ordeal with Alzheimer. I still have thoughts about all that took place emotional in our family and this article contains more depth of how to deal with Alzheimer should you become involved with this disease in your family.

9-2014. More to consider on the emotional side of Alzheimer.
To see a parent ‘’lose it’’ mentally is really tough. Regardless how experienced and older in life we get, we are still connected in mind and sprint to our parents. It’s normal to get the thought, “uh,oh. I’m next. This is going to happen to me.” Then we start calculating the difference in our age and the parent’s age and we figure the number that we see as how many years left before the mental files flip. Natural but not accurate. Genetics is a cue to what we might have copied and shared within our related systems, but not necessarily definite. Lifestyle can and does affect different outcomes for most people related. So, to be the best care giver and loving relative of every connection, it’s best to focus on giving your energy, time and creativity to the happiness and well being of your affected family member.

When I realized what had happened to mom, part of me wanted to stay away from her from embarrassment at her behavior, and partly because of how I was being required by the situation to give her support in her times of helplessness. Then I would feel shame for having those negative judgmental thoughts.
The disease changed our relationship in terms of not only what we couldn’t share but of what we also had to share. There really was no choice here. Not if I wanted to maintain my own self-respect as a son, as a man of honor and as an example to my own children.
My life was also being invaded in a different way. My own thoughts about the meaning of daily accomplishments and the connections of the love and sharing in life we have would be changed by this experience. I’d be forced to think about things I would never choose for focus on my own.
Every person attached to the family member who becomes a victim is partially owned for a time by this disease. Alzheimer demands an audience by the surprises in script and direction it creates in the victim’s mind.
It is shocking to realize how much of our world—most of it, in fact—is real as determined by our mental perceptions, by our own definitions/interpretations and whoever else’s definitions/interpretations we accept.
The world of facts that affects our decisions the most are not the basic science facts of heat, cold, hard, soft, animal kingdom, plant kingdom, etc.
Who we are and what we become, what we attach ourselves to, what we commit ourselves to is affected by the ‘’reasons’’ we accept, make up, believe in from various resources and shape ourselves into becoming. It is ‘’that person’’, that package of identity that is shaken up when the files get shifted.
When the time zones and geographical areas of the mind mix into different blends of reality inside the mind, those new “scenes” create different ‘’people’’ whose voices and personalities we may or may not recognize. We will hear stories that didn’t happen at all, or we will hear stories mixed together in such outrageous ways we want to scream out, “NO!. That’s not the way it happened!.” But we have to stay silent and not refute anything because the family member speaking really does see and hear and believe the new and mixed stories from their minds. THEY HAVE NO CHOICE. But you do. You decide how to respond, how to make conversation, how to ‘’let it go’’, how to ‘’be a part of the show’’, especially how to ‘’spend time in the twilight zone’’ and think of it as simply a playhouse production for therapy. Use your imagination in your own controlling way the way the disease is using your relative’s imagination for it’s own purposes.     End