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Alzheimer's

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Alzheimer's: She Wanted Two Kisses
By Gwendolyn de Geest, RN, BSN, MA 
(Page 3 of 4)

What are some of Rose’s favorite things? And is she still able to enjoy some of these things?
Rose always had incredible energy and creativity. She spent countless hours with the children, of course she was a mother first, but Rose was very involved in community and school committees. And she loved to entertain. Rose was always busy helping others. Today, Rose still loves having people around her. And she enjoys listening to stories.

Let’s talk about you for a moment Jack. What things do you do to take care of yourself?
I read a lot. And I enjoy walking. I’m here at Rose’s side every day, and when the weather warms up, I’ll take Rose outside to the garden. We always enjoyed working in the garden together. I still do.

What did you feel in that moment when Rose puckered up for a kiss?
Our eyes connected briefly just before the kiss, and I thought to myself, “I’ve got my Rose back once again.” I was so astonished; I hugged her and said, “we really do love one another, don’t we Rose?”

Your journey with Rose has encouraged so many. What do you tell people who are angry?
I tell them that there is help and there is hope. I haven’t worked it all out yet. I’m struggling. But on the good days, I know that this Alzheimer disease has happened to my Rose for a reason. And I’m grateful that we have this time together.

ANALYSIS

Getting Started
Communicating with the person with dementia can prove to be one of the greatest challenges. This individual may no longer communicate with words. Rather, they communicate with feelings. Because of this, frustration levels can run high, both on the part of the person with dementia and their caregiver. The communicated message may not be received or understood. The person with dementia may not be able to express themselves or even complete a simple sentence.

Jack truly believes that Rose’s spirit is alive and well. Sometimes, this is the only hope that families have.

Adding Flavor
When caregivers face this situation, they need to first assess who is this person? Although the individual may not be speaking, their body language is alive with feelings. Is the person happy, sad? Are they moving around in an agitated manner? What are the eyes saying? The eyes are the ‘windows of our soul.’ Jack has learned to read the message in Rose’s eyes and her relaxed body language. Jack discovers that he needs to pay particular attention to Rose’s facial expression, as he notes “a special little smile around Rose’s mouth…………”

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