Opening up to Alzheimer´s

It is not easy to accept the diagnosis, and it is hard to digest so many emotions. To witness our loved one gradually deteriorating and losing some of his capabilities can be painful; to know that that person will be eventually depending on us to function, day after day, is a huge emotional and logistical burden hard to bear.

It is not easy.

We acknowledge all the hardness of this complex process. And at the same time, we go a step further: once accepted, we also see Alzheimer’s disease as a great opportunity. A unique opportunity in the hands of the caregiver to grow as a person, to live in a more conscious and fulfilling way, creating new nuances in the relationship with the loved one with dementia and those around him, and ultimately, a precious opportunity to be happier.

When dementia sneaks into our homes, the way we have communicated regularly with our loved one might not work any longer, and it is then when new bridges and channels of communication can be built up, more direct ones, simpler, and why not, maybe even more authentic.

Let us take advantage of our loved one´s forgetfulness to allow ourselves to get rid of old grudges too, to delete differences from the past; because when we are able to see our loved one with a new lens and we dare to present ourselves as we are, then we are creating space for more rewarding, authentic and profound communication.

To open up to Alzheimer’s is to open up to the unknown, to a script yet unwritten, to pain, fear, to our own vulnerability, to the ephemeral nature of our journey through life. It also means to be opened to new experiences, such that we would not even dream of, to the greatness of our loved one which is our own greatness. We will be ultimately embracing life itself, and what it has to offer, and above all, embracing our essence as unique human beings.

Susana García, Moving your Soul

Permission to Feel

Moving Your Soul, Another Way To Live With Alzheimer's

Have you thought that all of the responsibility for your loved one’s well being depends on you?

Have you felt that no one can understand what you are going through witnessing her deterioration?

Have you thought that there is “nothing to be done”?

Have you experienced anger for the injustice that the sickness has brought to your lives?

Have you felt shame when witnessing the behavior of your loved one?

Have you felt you cannot do anything for you, for your own rest or fun because that would be “abandoning” your responsibilities?

Have you felt deep sadness thinking that you have lost that person although she is right in front of you?

Have you sometimes felt that you can communicate with that person even though she is sick?

Have you felt the profound joy of a look, a smile, or a word coming from your loved one that has simply touched your soul?

Have you felt you really want to connect with your loved one but you are not sure how?

Have you experienced conflict amongst the members of your family because of the fear and stress that caring for your loved one brings?

Do you want to have a flowing relationship with your loved one even though she is sick?

If you have answered YES to some of these questions, celebrate that you are a human being and in your own unique way you are in the process of confusion, grief and meeting one another that is natural when your loved one suffers from dementia.

If you want to give space to all you feel and also be with yourself and your loved one in a different manner, maybe you’re interested in trying coaching as a tool to live this process consciously. Contact us for more information: contact@movingyoursoul.com

Through the looking glass

Moving Your Soul, Another Way To Live With Alzheimer's

Alice looked round her in great surprise. `Why, I do believe we’ve been under this tree the whole time! Everything’s just as it was!’

`Of course it is,’ said the Queen, `what would you have it?’

`Well, in our country,’ said Alice, still panting a little, `you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you ran very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.’

`A slow sort of country!’ said the Queen. `Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!’

Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll 
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The people we still are by Kate Swaffer

Moving Your Soul, Another Way To Live With Alzheimer's

I believe nothing will change until we recognise it is imperative we all understand the human cost of dementia. It is people with their own stories that have the most impact on achieving change as it turns the whole area of dementia into reality, not just words on a document or report. Dementia care is caring for people who often do not know they need care, and don’t want to be in care; no wonder we may become angry and upset! The changes brought on by dementia are relentless, yet many people don’t see them as disabilities, merely as external symptoms. Many also think it is a mental illness, which it is not. And so, we are regularly defined by the symptoms of our disease – forgetful, confused, aggressive, odd behaviour, rather than the people we still are… mothers, daughters, lovers, husbands, wives, employees, aunties. It is a tragedy so many just see our deficits.
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Learning to listen by Graham Stokes

alzheimer escuchar listen
People with dementia have something to say and they do say it. Unfortunately, their words invariably conceal who they are and what they want. Hence an objective of person-centred work is to decipher their words to unearth their concealed messages and in the process reveal that the person is not lost but merely more difficult to see behind the remnants of their intellectual powers.

However trying to understand the meaning of what a person with dementia is saying requires a gentle touch for we should never trample on a person’s communications and impose our interpretation on their words. We need to be patient, listen well and pick up the clues that may guide us to an understanding of what is being said.
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The Impact of Emotions

Someone once said: “It is easier to erase a bad memory than the emotion generated by that bad memory.” Our feelings and emotions color our lives, from the cradle to the tomb and this ability to feel moved and to experience a wide range of emotions: love, joy, fear, anger or pain persists until the end of a human being’s life. This is, of course, also true of persons affected by Alzheimer.
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Connecting beyond the words

In the words of Dr. Dan Siegel “We come into the world wired to make connections with one another, and the subsequent neural shaping of our brain, the very foundation of our sense of self, is built upon these intimate exchanges.”

Creating and being in relationships is a crucial part of our development, our well being and our identity, our sense of self. We relate to each other by communicating with one another and we all can distinguish the difference between simply transferring information and communicating. When we feel seen, listened to, spoken to according to who we are, it is then that we feel another communicates with us – connects with us, meet us and then a dialogue is possible; when there is a common meeting space with others to express ourselves.
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Reaching out through the senses

Rhythm, sound, colors and shapes activate human emotion. In every culture and throughout history, our 5 senses have served as vehicles to connect and relate to the world: as our receptors, helping us internalize as well as “emitters”, transmitting, creating from and materializing our emotions. We have known, even before inventing it or learning it, that language is not the only way to communicate nor is it always the most effective; as it is not always the most spontaneous or honest.
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