Dementia: Two Different Perspectives


Two Different Perspectives

These poems work in response to each other, one being from the perspective of my grandmother who died from complications with Alzheimer’s in 2011 and one being from my perspective seeing her at the nursing home.


by Allison Budaj 

What is this place I cannot seem to leave?

Exit near, the flight I cannot achieve.

When did I get here? From where did I come?

Hard to recall in this ceaseless doldrums.

Who are these confined people all around?

Their fate like mine to this place ever bound.

Who is this girl by me in this bleak place?

A very calming, familiar sweet face.

Who is this child holding my hand in hers?

Seems so kind but her name I am unsure.

I do not know this girl they call my kin.

Her gaze fixed as tears glide around her chin.

Why do I not have a thought of her name?

May never know but love her all the same.



by Allison Budaj

Not my Nina, the woman before me,

Head hanging low without much joy or glee.

Not my Nina, laughing in days gone by,

Body broke from memory gone awry.

A hollow shell of the person I knew,

Her gaunt eyes still a radiating hue.

She looks up at me with a puzzled stare,

Her mind trying to guess me standing there.

As if she knows, her scowl curls to a smile,

Eyes burst into tears, been such a long while.

With this beaming grin years melt from her face,

How could we leave you in such a bleak place?

Mom says it’s best, she is beyond our care,

Turning to leave with heartbreak, I can’t bear.

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An Important message from our friend Meryl Comer:

Only twice in my twenty plus years as an Alzheimer’s caregiver has a doctor ever asked whether I was doing okay. Yet my husband would have never made the clinic appointment on time if I had not gotten up extra early to bathe, dress, feed, manage his resistance and drive him there. Now here’s a chance to be heard!

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic want to learn what matters most to you when you go to the doctor with your loved one. They need volunteers for an online focus group who are current or former caregivers for a loved one with dementia.

Click here to learn more about this important Mayo Clinic caregiver study asking what matters to you when you go to the doctor with a loved one.

Study participants will be asked to join an online focus group and answer several questions over a week and a half posted by the moderator. Participants can choose to remain anonymous. Their goal is to help healthcare providers better support and communicate with caregivers by learning:

  • How health care providers can best help caregivers provide optimal care to loved ones while maintaining their own health.
  • How involved caregivers want to be their loved ones’ healthcare.
  • What the ideal “care team” looks like.

Please click here for more information about this important Mayo Clinic caregiver study.

Your opinions are critical to improving the experience for all caregivers when they accompany loved ones to doctor’s appointments. Let’s not miss this opportunity to make doctors tune into what matters to us.

Meryl Comer, A-List Team Member & 20-year Alzheimer’s care partner

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