Alzheimers the hidden treasure #caregivers #alzheimers #haibun


More than forty years ago,I took care of my first Alzheimer’s patient. Back then we called a patient confused. The trade marks were the same: little by little the mind ebbs and the memory recedes.

I have learned much as I have looked through the window of an elderly person’s life. There is a store house of information, experience, history that is so close. My challenge as a caregiver is to find the key that unlocks the treasure chest.

By the time I enter a client’s life, they have “lost” quite a bit of memory. But there is always some treasure if I am patient. “Patient” is the operative word – I cannot have an agenda, be pushy or in a big hurry.

Mary loves children and she most often sets the tone for the conversation. Her years of experience as a school teacher are like gold for me as my other life is teaching African children. It is a joy to hear children in the background of her life.

Today- I grasped at another treasure – we look good in the same colors. She chose several outfits that would look good on either of us. Last week we had a pillow fight and got into a fit of laughter. She asked me a puzzle of a question; I asked her one in return.

Each day we find what we can do not what we can’t do and it works.

I am not inferring that caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is easy – It is Not! As the wave recedes, I am sorrowful for the yesterdays that are lost. But my hand is going to clasp hers and be grateful that there are more days filled with treasure if I am ready to hunt for it.

Tide is fading

wind thrashes each memory

deep blue sea

 

 

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14 thoughts on “Alzheimers the hidden treasure #caregivers #alzheimers #haibun

  1. Hi Leslie – Alzheimers is cruel isn’t – but you seem to have found a way through – go with them on their journey. Lots of knowledge gleaned and stories to tell after amendment … but so worth it. It’s great to read – cheers Hilary

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  2. Lovely poem and a lovely tie in to those with Alzheimer’s. It is amazing what you do, caring for those who need care and when their minds might be in another place. It sounds like you and Mary had a great time together, bonding over something simple like looking good in the same colours. Sure, some people might just see that as being vain, looking good and all, but confidence and connecting with others manifest from different ways and interests, and often from such simple moments 🙂

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  3. That is wonderful. We are uncertain if my Dad is in early stages. He forgets a lot of things but has been expert at covering upuntil now. He is imagining things that don’t really happen and has anger issues. He refuses to go be evaluated. This man is my hero. It is so heart wrenching. 😞

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  4. Compassion and understanding are key requisites for helping someone living with dementia. I wish it were possible to buy this as a present for far too many who, through their ignorance of the condition are rendered insensitive and often unintentionally cruel.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Beautifully said. It’s the person behind the disease that I care about. It’s terrible to watch but the little treasures a carer or family sees makes it worth the time we share.

    I hope I explained that right.

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  6. Your article and the comments open a space in my mind and have cleared out some cliches. A friend gets annoyed when people automatically assume that Alxheimers is the worst thing that could happen. Thank you.

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