Living With Alzheimer’s – “Inside the Family”

Canada AM’s series, “Living With Alzheimer’s” last week, covered the waterfront on the various aspects of this topic and the four day program segments once again illustrated how the value of personal story telling can help us better understand how we are doing and that we are not alone.

image On the “Inside the Family” segment, Jan Arden and Olivia Chow shared their stories. Two comments stood out relating to my own experience. Arden’s point about “catching yourself with you own reactions” was important because not only do our reactions alter incrementally, but the person with Alzheimer’s also picks up emotionally on positive or negative reactions that you project.

Olivia Chow talked about how you need to re-connect with the new person you see, who has this disease. She said it can be a “joyous journey” especially if you can learn from that person what exactly are their joyous memory points from their past, (her father’s love of opera in her case). As the panelist Dr. Michael Gordon agreed, music and humour is great therapy.

You cannot expect that everyone, through their experience living with Alzheimer’s (or for that matter any other personal health event), will see things exactly the same way. But likely there is more we have in common than not.

So re-connecting, not disconnecting was my takeaway from this, and while music didn’t work in my case with my mother, humour certainly did. Then, I guess instinctively I knew we always did share a quirky sense of humour.

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