Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pictures on the wall

From my post in www.trusera.com :

About 5 years ago I read that we must keep showing photos to the ones who are beginning to forget about the family. The dementia, Alzheimer patients.

I showed album after album to my husband and he still had some recollections of our trips, his brother, his sister. Then I purchased the kind of stick on cabinets photo frames and put them on the kitchen cabinets. A view of the whole family every day.

I have watched Bob look at them often, in past years he would smile, put a kiss on his fingertips and onto his favorite people, the ones who had already left us.

He would smile at our picture in Hawaii even so he did not remember the trip anymore but to see us together smiling being happy gave him joy.

For the last few years this too has vanished , he often looks at the pictures but no signs of recognition for anyone.

Even himself he is not sure off, he is the last one he vaguely knows. He will point at the photo and say "Is that me?" I answer in the affirmative and then say "this one here is me, Jeannot, your wife" . He turns from the photo to my face and shakes his head. He does not care he goes back to his cup of coffee.

I said to my daughter that I will take the photos down, I think they are now a stage of frustration. He must be wondering who are all these people and he does not have a clue.

My daughter suggested that it will make my kitchen look bigger. Even she who knows me so well and loves her dad so much, she does not have a clue what day to day living with A. truly is.

She thought of the look of the kitchen. She did not see him when he stares and stares at a photo, she does not see the daily changes and this is what is so hard with mental illness.

Unless you are 24/7 with someone you just can't know.

A friend of mine with the same situation packed her bags and sent good old dad to her son for a week. She simply said: You have to find out what it is I am dealing with. Her son begged her on day 3 to come and get dad. She took her week off and stayed in a motel reading books and eating out.

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