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Not always a good idea

Posted by markdohle , 17 November 2006 · 54 views

As I was leaving the dinning room today, I saw William at the table and stopped for awhile to see how he was doing.  He seemed to be doing well, and after a brief discussion I went to the door, hit the combination and left.  Before the lock could catch, William came through the door asking if he could talk to me for a moment.  I could tell he was in a place of great discomfort, that for some reason he did not let me see when I was talking to him over the dinning room table.  So we went into one of the back rooms to talk.  

Again, not surprisingly, he let me know that he wanted to go home.  As he was talking I could tell he was in a place that a more direct approach would work, so I took the chance and was straight with him.  Now this is not always a good idea.  In fact most times it isnít, but William is not your usual Alzheimerís patient, and being direct actually works with him.  Most times, with most patients, it is better to enter into their world, and sort of go along with them, and try to find some solution that fits into their time frame.  For instance, the trip home is not until tomorrow, or that their parents long dead, will come and visit them in a few day etc.  This works because their short term memory is Ö..Well short.   I doubt William remembers the vast majority of things I tell him for very along, in fact there are days when it can easily be measured in actual minuets.

As I told him about his family, and the current state of affairs, I could see him trying to go along with what I was telling him.  I canít imagine how lonely it must be for him to learn, once again, that his parents are dead, his sister also, and the only family he has left is a niece and a nephew.  So when I finished, he sat quiet, looking at me with such sad eyes, but also knowing that I would not lie to him, and in the end came again to some kind of peace over the matter.  

While he remembers me, he does not really remember the last 15 years of his life; just bits and pieces.  He remembers me because I am with him everyday, but some of the other people working here he does not remember, or perhaps he does off and on.  I suppose the only thing that can be done is to let him know that he will be taken care of no matter what.

For instance sometimes he will come to me and say that he does not have enough money for lunch or supper.  Which of course is causing him some serious anxiety, and fear that he will not be able to eat, or will even be put out.  So again, he is told that we will take care of him, that money is not something he has to worry about.    I am glad that he still trust me, donít know what will happen if he loses that, if he forgets who I am.

Meds are helping, and little by little we are getting the right combination to help him have a smoother ride.  Say what you will about modern medicine, they are still wonderful, and help to improve the quality of life for many elderly.  If not for his meds, I fear that Williamís life would be a nightmare, lost in a maze, not knowing where he is, who he is, and certainly not knowing who I am, and also the others who take care of him.  True his life is extended, but that is worth it, to save him from going through more suffering that he is already going through.