Living with Alzheimers sept 2015 by Roger R Fontaine
This blog was inspired by the movie: Still Alice starring “I’ve forgotten their names”. seriously.
Every day we re-connect with our purpose, we affirm our identity as person, as soul, as being. We formulate goals for the day and plan tasks accordingly. We foresee obstacles which may impede our progress, and we take measures to manifest our purpose correctly and appropriately.
We are confident, courageous that our mission is aligned with our purpose and we take action to fulfill that vision, mission, outcome.
And we will meet obstacles and challenges to our day’s objectives. We will encounter individuals who will have their goals and beliefs interfere with ours, people who will hinder and object to our beliefs, values, and path.
And we will stay the course, forge on, maintain direction because we remember our purpose, our mission, our vision. We will take action, assured in our direction, guided by memory and meaning.
For people with mental illness such as Alzheimers this is not how the day begins because there is increasingly less identity remaining, less memory of purpose or meaning or mission. There is only the present moment, devoid of meaning, purpose, or goal-driven objectives. There is only emptiness wrapped in the illusion of time and space interspersed with fragments of memories which are separate, disparate, and whose meanings are confused.
For people who suffer terminal memory loss there is an increasing dependence on caregivers which surround them, who attend to their needs, who have schedules to carry out: bathing, dressing, feeding, medicating.
And for those who suffer from memory loss the only thing left is acceptance, anger, resignation. Acceptance and resignation are aspects of mental function which also disappear so all that is left is anger. Even grief is lost, sadness, and resignation are gone. All that is left is anger whenever confusion about identity arises.
Whenever a glimpse of purpose or meaning infiltrates itself into the consciousness of the mind confusion ignites anger and distress. Intelligence and communication disappear and speech becomes difficult, slurred, or incomprehensible.
People we once knew, loved, and cared for are now strangers, beings in our lives who attempt to cope with the person they once knew and who is now gone, whose identity is lost, whose purpose is gone, whose meaning for living has been taken away, whose mind has gone silent.
This is living with Alzheimers.
This blog was also inspired by ( I remember now) Julianne Moore, Alex Baldwin, and my friend with a brain tumour who is defined by being a great composer and musician, Michael Waters, who posted on Facebook mention of the discovery earlier this year in March of 2015 that targeting ultrasound at the amyloid plaque and tau proteins in the brains of mice in Australia resulted in lab mice restoring memory pathways and lost memories and the ability to make new memories. This is breakthrough research which will assist those who are losing their minds to Alzheimers .
and for those who are waiting for this research to be made available as treatment there is the continued loss of neurons, of synapses connecting memories to meaning and purpose and identity. They sit and wait while their brains continue to deteriorate progressively, indeterminably, inevitably.