Happiness in the End Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Is that Possible?
I ran across this picture when visiting my Mother the other day at her nursing home. Now some may say the outfit is disrespectful for her age…. and will go on and on about what they perceive as negative. But I encourage you to look closely at the picture and tell me what you think the answer to the question below.
What do you think? Is she happy?
I say, “YES. SHE IS HAPPY!”
This is a picture of my Mother, who is 83 years old and in her end stages of the Alzheimer’s disease. She rarely talks and if she says something much of the time you are not sure what she is talking about although she is trying to participate in a conversation. Mom needs to have her total needs taken care of by others: medications, feeding her, toileting, bathing, dressing… She is wheelchair bound and spends much of her time resting with her eyes shut in her chair when she is not sleeping in bed. She is unable to raise her arms or reach out to hug me anymore. For those of you that think the dress up outfit is disrespectful, I ask you this… Did you like to dress up when you were young? My belief is that my Mother in her end stages is now in a child like state. One with no ego or judgement, just room for love and authentic connections. Being able to visit Mom in her world is an amazingly blessed place to be. I can leave my world which is very judgemental. Mom just loves and accepts me for who I am. I know longer have to try to fit into a model I feel others expect of me. That is a such a peaceful place to go.
Here’s a little inside info for you:
The RED outfit Mom is dressed in is totally perfect for her. Red is Mom’s favorite color. In fact when she was in mid stages of the disease she would only wear red and pink clothing… nothing else! And the music, well Mom always loved music. At this stage of the disease she will still moves her arms, fingers, or shoulders at times even though not with much control, to the sound of music and will try to sing. She remembers few words at this point, but the familiarity and beat of the music get her attention and bring her JOY! That is all that matters.
Please don’t give up on your loved ones and those you care for. They are still in those bodies that trap them. Please give them the opportunity to have joyful moments, I promise making them happy will bring you more joy then you ever thought possible.
Mom looks like she is dressed up to be a Klondike Kate. That is one of our Minnesota Traditions with our Winter Carnival. Contestants are judged on musical performance, song choice, costumes, vocal ability, crowd appeal and authenticity in portraying the Klondike Kate character. Klondike Kate’s are typically big women with tremendous voices that really can put on a fun show. Here’s a video of the real Klondike Kate’s from Jan 2011.