The Beginning and the End

I had to place my mother in an Alzheimer’s unit last year. It has been difficult to watch her slowly disappear as the disease progresses. I have however, had great success communicating with my mom this year. In fact, much more success than my siblings. A doctor friend, who accompanied me to visit my mom, pointed out that the reason I had such success was because I never argue or correct her when she makes an inaccurate comment or request (for example: “Let’s go to my house and I’ll make you a sandwich before you go home.”). Dr. Butler pointed out that I just redirect her to something else and at all times maintain full respect (“Let’s go see the pictures in your room instead.”). He says that this keeps her from the embarrassment of memory loss or of being wrong. We came to the conclusion that it was my early childhood teaching strategies that helped me communicate with my mother at the end of her life. Maybe with both of our specialties we should write a book called, “Using Early Childhood Strategies with Alzheimer’s Patients.” Is the beginning and the end of life so similar? I wonder…

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2 responses

  1. uThis comment is from Brandi Cooley from your children’s lit class. This article hit so close to home because I have a grandmother suffering from Dimensia. I would have never thought to use my earlychildhood strategies with her to better my relationship with her. Your statement seems so true, as a teacher we would never want to humilate or embarrass a child if they were to forget something, we don’t automatically correct them but yet redirect their thinking andmaintain a respect for them. I was able to discuss this strategy with other family memers and we found it would be a beneficial tool for all of us as we visit with our grandmother. Thankyou for the insight.

  2. Very interesting analogy Dr. Funk! Our phisical body also seem to become as fragile as it used to be when we were children.

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