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Living in the Moment with Alzheimer’s

Recently I met an acquaintance, Maria, in the gym. She looked distracted and tense. Also, she had lost a few pounds, unintentionally. After the usual chit chat, I directly said, “There is something different about you. I can’t put my finger on it. Are you feeling well?” With that Maria said as her eyes welled up with tears, “My mother is driving me crazy. She has Alzheimer’s and isn’t giving me a minute of peace. She calls my name all the time demanding I do this and that. I can’t concentrate. She is so agitated and merciless when it comes to me. I am so tired.” To this I replied, “At least she knows your name.” By the way Maria lives with her mother since her divorce ten years ago. Maria and her mother are more like sisters, exceptionally close. Therefore Maria is not only upset about feeling depleted; she misses her mother – their past relationship. Alzheimer’s teaches you to let go of the past and live in the present.

I gave Maria some coping strategies for caregivers. The stress which caregivers experience can be the tipping point in their own health both physical and mental: Maria’s response was: “I never thought of the music or the photos. Thank you.” I cracked a few jokes about life reminding her, “We all come in the middle of the movie and we all leave in the middle of the movie. What kind of movie do you want? As for me, I prefer a romantic comedy.” We both laughed and parted company.

Alzheimer’s is a disease about letting go of resentment and anger. You get a fresh start every moment. We can all learn to live in the moment.
For more information on caregiving read my book, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show




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