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laughing
through
the tears
Written by LaurelLaurel Palladino
Quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger
Meeting your loved one where they are, learning how to navigate a different reality.
A nursing care medical attendant taking care of an elder woman

 

 

I had a conversation with a friend recently about their family situation. The mom has Alzheimer’s and they are struggling. There is some anger and resentment, almost like they think she is making it up. I am sad for them and in trying to talk them through what to do I shared this story with them.

I worked in a nursing home during college. We had a husband and wife there and one day the husband died. His sweet wife just couldn’t wrap her mind around this fact. Several times during a shift she would ask where Herbert was. After several emotional back and forths I did what I thought was right and I started lying. I was only twenty and unsure what was right but I knew making her relive that information several times a day was cruel. I often wondered if lying was the better choice but after my dad was diagnosed it became clear that going along with his reality was not only the right choice but the kindest one. They cannot reason or remember. Asking them if they remember is like asking a blind person to see. Constant correcting or contradicting is just reminding them that they are less than they once were, it is unkind. No one wants to be reminded of their disability.

Give short one sentence instructions, repeat when necessary. Don’t argue or get angry. Walk away and try again if necessary. Give yourself and your loved one grace. Remember they aren’t deliberately trying to upset you. Go with the flow.

Until a cure is found the memory loss will progress. You can’t control this disease, but you can control your reaction to it.

 

So, here’s my story…

I am Laurel, an author and advocate for those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. Through my book, “Laughing Through The Tears,” I hope to shed light on the journey of those affected by this condition and offer a unique perspective that combines laughter and resilience.

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