Tragic Thinking

Thinking, about remembering.

It’s so sad to hear of families that have to experience the trauma of having a family member diagnosed with dementia and watching the symptoms develop into the various stages of Alzheimer’s.

The recent tragic story of a mother whom wandered out onto the street in the winter and despite calls for help – froze to death in front of her home. Firstly, the heart-felt sorrow I feel for the family and friends is just so sickening to me.  I really have a hard time thinking about the event. In a modern city, something like that happens. Normally, I’d say that I can’t imagine the situation. But, one of our family members is suffering from the advance stages of Alzheimer’s.  Lastly, is the shame I put on the neighbors whom didn’t response to the cry of an elderly women freezing to death on their street. Shame, Shame, Shame.

Clearly, we have learned a lesson. Informing the neighborhood of any persons with this illness in hoping a tragedy like this never happens again. I have a feeling some families are embarrassed about this illness to perhaps speak out and seek further help. Certainly, you need a mature community that will embrace the illness and not mock those families that are living through the disease.  Use the support groups to help. You’ll simply have to ignore the ignorant people who don’t acknowledge the illness and emotional drain it has on family members.

Some of the daily issues at hand for the family members is the constant monitoring of the patient. We have no real understanding of how they are going to react at any giving moment. That itself provides the foundation of uncertainty with further emphasis on keeping a watch full eye on the individual 24/7/365.  How are we supposed to be aware of their every movement. Just like the 2-year old kid who bolts out the door before you can react. We hear the results on the news of a parent backing over their kid moments later. If we know of the kids in the neighborhood, shouldn’t we be aware of a Alzheimer patient.

Around my neck of the woods a mother had just been reported missing. You know what that means. I do. The good news – she was found freezing in her car overnight, but alive and will recover. That’s how it began with our parent. Driving disorientation. Eventually, they have their license revoked. This is very emotional for the parent – as they are now aware  of the beginning of losing their identity. Of course the Driving Bureau and Registry Office employees have no remorse in the usual mistreating of customers.

I still remember that day my parent suddenly burst into tears. I asked what was wrong – “I don’t know my name”.

You spend so much time watching them and their every move. Family members help out until a full-time care givers has to take over. Eventually, they have to enter a facility with 24-hour surveillance, cameras, nurses, doctors and various locked hallways and visiting rooms.

Depression is often deepened through the mistreatment received by the public whom for reasons unknown seem not to care of this problem. This depression usually affects the family members and takes its toll on ones personal health. We try to stay focused and do the usual group sessions of reading and sharing notes. But, receiving a constant humiliation from a pathetic few whom really don’t understand the disease becomes a little taxing. These few are certainly not the pillars of the community, and clearly not that intelligent. But, with all the news of Alzheimer’s since President Reagan’s passing 22 years ago, you’d think they would have some respect for families that are experiencing the disease first hand.

Shame, Shame, Shame.

An Original Written by
dfmw © 2010 All Rights Reserved

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