Alzheimer’s & End of Life – A Shell of a Body or a Shell of a Soul?

A Shell of a Body or a Shell of a Soul?

People refer to a person in mid to late stage Alzheimer’s as someone who lives in “A Shell of a Body.”  What does that really mean?  Most people use this phrase when communication no longer exists like it used to.

What I find interesting is people at the end stage of life may no longer communicate like they used to, but somehow they are viewed differently.  We have educated people one by one that a person who is in a coma or is receiving hospice or palliative care can “take in” what is going on around them; even though they may not be able to respond like they used to.  There is a level of respect still intact, one that seems to be missing in many cases when it comes to memory loss.

We have taught people to engage in conversation and touch a person who is in their end stage of life.  We have learned to look for different signs and signals from those we love and work with.  Society at large has been trained to dig deeper and not be so superficial and judgmental during these times. In fact, the medical profession encourages caregivers to continue to connect with a person in their end stage of life. We have been taught to appreciate relationships on a soul level, one with never dies and is engaged with all that is around them.

I challenge you to teach the world the same lesson about connecting with someone who has memory loss.  It is no longer acceptable to refer to any individual as living in “A Shell of a Body that can be cast away and forgotten.”   We must teach people the soul lives on and is engaged.

As a World we must recognizing there is a huge difference between the statement, “A Shell of a Body and a Shell of a Soul.”

Below is a short video clip where I tell a couple of stories to show the difference.


10 Replies to “Alzheimer’s & End of Life – A Shell of a Body or a Shell of a Soul?”

  1. I am very pleased to read this entry. I take care of my grandpa with Alzheimer’s part time and blog about my conversations and experiences with him. At times, it’s like translating a different language or meeting a stranger but he still has personality, thoughts and enjoys a good time. I hope it is okay with you that I have added you to my list of links : )

    Great work!

  2. {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

    Lori, what a wonderful video about your experiences. I have to agree with you about hospice care. They are a bunch of wonderful people and not only are they trained to help family members deal with their loved one issues, but they are the most passionate people I have ever met.

    Know that I think of you and your mom often and praying that she is as comfortable as she can be.


    1. HI Sheri

      Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Mom is starting to have more pain due to her rotting teeth. We have decided as a family to do only comfort care at this stage….. things maybe getting closer. I’m trying not to think of it that way yet it is hard not too as I’m also trying to prepare for reality. Hope all is going well with you. Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers. Love ya! 🙂


  3. Your video “A Shell of a Body or A Shell of a Soul?” was so inspiring to keep me going on my personal mission. I created my RememberingQuilts this year to share my dream of comforting people with memory loss. When my mom was still with us, I would often take her favorite pictures and add the names to help her remember. I took that experience and taught myself how to make RememberingQuilts and made one for her sister who is 96. It was very comforting to included pictures of my mom labeled with her name on my aunt’s quilt. After teaching myself how to make the quilts with Photoshop, I set up a website and Facebook page, where I put my story, but my quilts require me to work directly with someone who would like a quilt for a family member, I use their pictures and label them . I love my new hobby but I need help.

  4. Lori,

    Thank YOU for a beautiful video that I just listened to this evening! I NEEDED this and am grateful for your message! I could easily elaborate, but I am going to keep it simple, wipe my tears, and get some needed rest tonight.

    Thank you!

    1. HI Cindy

      I am so glad the video helped you. Your comment to me gave me the boost I needed as well! sometimes we all just need some support to get through our days. I’m glad we were there for one another. If you need to chat please feel free. I’d be glad to help you any way I can.

      Take care


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