Advertisement

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Caregivers of People with Alzheimer’s: Does It Matter What You Say?

Maureen Pratt Author PicI have heard from a few people with relatives in the last stages of Alzheimer’s, and some have asked, “Does it matter what you say?”  This seems to come up especially with regard to general conversation and prayer: With the person they knew slipping away more and more, did it really matter if the caregiver/loved one talked about their day, their lives, or talked about faith and God.

The experts will say that each case of Alzheimer’s is different, and that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to much of anything as the disease takes its course. What I experienced with my father was a kind of anomaly – some conversations were nearly impossible for me to follow while others contained little windows of lucidity and understanding. And I could never tell which it would be. A word might trigger a very cogent memory, something that gave me more information about family history or another subject. Other times, I might start talking about something, and my father would respond with a question completely unrelated to anything in my particular universe, let alone what I’d been talking about, and the conversation would become the equivalent of a wild race through a cornfield maze.

Advertisement

Near his last days, I began to read up about different thoughts concerning spiritual care for those with advanced dementia.  Given a person might not be aware of what is going on around them, does it matter if he or she is given the opportunity to make a final confession, be prayed over, or, in the case of my (and my father’s) Catholic faith, receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick? I understood that, ideally, these spiritual activities are best administered when the person receiving them is aware of what is happening. But spiritually, I know that God works in and through us, and for us, even if we are not able to move or communicate on our own.

A few days before my father died, I asked a local priest to visit him. Amazingly (as only God can be amazing), my father made the sign of the cross as the priest prayed with him. It was one of those rare windows of lucidity at just the right time. And peace settled in.

Advertisement

So, does it matter what you say? Does it matter whether you pray with the person with advanced Alzheimer’s?

Each case is different, of course. But I would day, “yes.” Yes, it matters, not so much for you to have a conversation with your loved one or to engage in common prayer. But, it matters for the person with Alzheimer’s, who is still living, loved by God, and in His hands.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.



Previous Posts

Chronic Illness and Pain: Sisters, Please Read This!
f you have just been diagnosed with a serious chronic illness, or if you have been living with one for a long time, I just want to take time out to just say something, sister-to-sister:  Please do not be angry with yourself if you find that you ...

posted 8:32:25pm Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: Do You Wonder? And, Why It Matters
The clouds in the sky. A flash of lightning. A baby's giggle. A "common" cold. When you see or hear these things, do you disect them scientifically? Or, do you wonder? What are the things in your life that you try to analyze? What are ...

posted 7:23:11pm Aug. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Pain: Feeling the Heat?
Searing. Exhausting. Oppressive. These and other words are often used to describe the high heat of the summertime. ...

posted 7:06:47pm Aug. 24, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Illness: The Choices We Make
It might not seem as if we have many choices when our priority is to stave off flares, infections, and other consequences of ...

posted 6:51:15pm Aug. 22, 2015 | read full post »

Chronic Pain: While We Are Sleeping
When our pain is severe, it can be difficult to sleep. Even if we're able to doze, we often awaken with pain, and ...

posted 6:38:56pm Aug. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.