"Old times" never come back and I suppose it's just as well. What comes back is a new morning every day in the year, and that's better.
-George E. Woodberry
From "From A Dignified Life: The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer's Care," by Virginia Bell, M.S.W. and David Troxel, M.P.H.:
What is it like to have Alzheimer's disease to a related dementia? What would it be like to be unsure of your surroundings, to have difficulty communicating, to not recognize a once-familiar face, or to be able to understand things you have always enjoyed? When you understand the world of dementia, you can begin to understand their experiences, develop empathy, and relate better to their situation.
The experience of Alzheimer's disease can be like taking a trip to a foreign country where you don't speak the language. You don't know how the pay phone works. Customs are different. Ordering food in a restaurant proves difficult. When paying a restaurant bill with unfamiliar currency, you might fear that you are being shortchanged, cheated. Tasks so easy at home are major challenges in an unfamiliar setting and can be exhausting. The person with dementia is in a foreign land all the time.
Rebecca Riley, a nurse and educator, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at age 59. Following are some of her written notes describing her experience:
+ Can't say what I want
+ Afraid I can't express my thoughts with words—thus I remain silent and become depressed.
+ I need conversation to be slowly
+ It is difficult to follow conversation with so much noise
+ I feel people turn me off because I cannot express myself.
+ I dislike social workers, nurses and friends who do not treat me as a real person.
+ It is difficult to live one day at a time.