A message from… Alzheimer’s


It was a day like any other when I asked Esther a question. She was an 80 year old woman from Galicia who had been a teacher for 40 years and who had five adorable children and a husband who would come to pick her up at de Day Care Centre every afternoon. Esther didn’t seem to listen to my question, she had an absent gaze, as if nothing mattered anymore. I was sitting patiently, by her side, without expecting anything and expecting everything. And suddenly, without having to repeat the question, she looked up and stared at me with her big chocolate colored eyes, then as alive as a little girl that had just discovered something new. Esther, I had asked “What do we have to do when a child is rebellious?”. In an instant she became as lucid as a firefly, and with a clear voice Esther answered… “AFFECTION”… “Affection, Esther?”, I asked, “And if they are very rebellious?”, “They are rebellious because they do not have affection” she answered, “AFFECTION” she repeated…

After that she lowered her head and dived back into her mind, in a lake of blank spaces.

Esther suffers from a moderate stage of Alzheimer’s and, occasionally shows the lucidity of greater wisdom.

Stimulating them and knowing how to wait for these moments, not forgetting them, receiving all that people with Alzheimer’s give us, giving them our psico-emotional support, patience, love and respect, helps to maintain their satisfaction and well-being, even though their needs and priorities may have changed.

Elena Cárdenas.