Do Not Ask Me To Remember

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Distraught manI’m reblogging this article I wrote in April of 2013 because it comes up in my blog stats as being extremely popular to many of you out there. I can only conclude that it’s popularity remains high because there are so many caregivers in the world who are tangled up in a daily life that centers around those with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia. I hope many more will be encouraged – and pleasingly challenged – by what I have to say in this post.

Walk in Their Shoes… Just for a Minute.  The attached article contains encouraging advice that caregivers worldwide need to read, and re-read, from time to time.

Those of us who have been caregivers to loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementia know very well the frustrations felt when we come to the realization that we’re not sufficiently equipped to handle that which this disease presents us.  We’re walking in caregiver shoes, fully incapable of walking in those of the person with dementia.  If we could, we would shriek at what we see and experience.

So we get frustrated – understandably so.  We raise our voices in anger – and feel guilty immediately thereafter.  We complain to others about the one we’re taking care of – because we crave to be heard and understood by someone!

English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzhei...
PET scan of a human brain with Alzheimer’s disease (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do not ask me to remember is a loaded statement and one which should give us pause.  We know the person with dementia is not able to remember the previous five seconds, so why do we ask them to remember where and when they were born?  Why do we think that repeating an answer LOUDLY AND WITH EMPHASIS will help the loved one remember this tenth time you’ve answered their same question?  Why do we think they will understand our logical explanations about circumstances when their ability to understand anything requiring organization of thought is a function forsaken long ago by the brain that they’ve been stuck with?

Because we’re human – and we want order out of chaos, and we want the one for whom we are providing care to finally “get it.”  And we want them to understand that this ain’t no cake walk for me so why aren’t you appreciating all that I do for you?

Because they don’t remember.

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3 thoughts on “Do Not Ask Me To Remember

    Jill Weatherholt said:
    January 11, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Thank you for sharing this, Irene.

    boomer98053 responded:
    September 6, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Reblogged this on Baby Boomers and More and commented:

    Occasionally, the stats for my website reveal ongoing interest in various topics I’ve addressed over the years. This article is one of them that seems to attract quite a bit of interest so I am reposting it for those who may be interested.

    ddesonier said:
    April 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Thank you for this very relevant and telling article, and the wonderful poem to which you provide a link. Your article triggered a memory of my getting very frustrated with my wife – who had early on-set dementia – over some inane matter I don’t recall. I got angry at her, and she backed away flinching. I immediately felt terribly remorseful, and regretful. Like you say, we are only human. Heck, even Billy Joel in his song, ” Your Only Human”, says, “You’re supposed to make mistakes!” Easier said than done, eh? Even now I became flooded with guilt at my memory of this incident, and my wife passed away last July. So indeed fellow caregivers, take heed, for truly, they don’t remember.

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