By: Michelle Remold
As I sit down to write this blog, I can’t help but reflect on the previous week and how important it is to be able to make and have connections. I am not just thinking about connections on a professional level, but on a personal level as well, especially when it comes to Alzheimer’s or another dementia. This is something that has started to become increasingly apparent to me.
Professionally, I am learning that having connections is important and can help you to accomplish tasks that appear to be difficult to complete. When I think about personal connections, I realize that they are very important as well. When you think about friends, chances are you became friends based on a commonality, a connection. It might be reading books, going to museums, a common interest in a subject area, or something like Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Each of us has had a different role in the lives of someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. I have only seen it from the point of view of a grandchild. My mom has seen it from a child’s point of view and my grandma experienced it from a spouse’s perspective. While I don’t know exactly what my grandma or mom have gone through, it’s easier for me to understand their view points on what they experienced. When it comes to having a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, having connections that understand what someone is going through can be important. Having someone you can talk to who understands what you are experiencing can be helpful and therapeutic. Making various connections with people is important. It gives you someone to bounce ideas off of, share stories and laugh with, or talk to about frustrations and stressors.
I think that being able to talk about things and having someone who can in some way relate is important. When my grandpa was first diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, not many people seemed to know much about Alzheimer’s and I remember spending a lot of time explaining the disease to friends. Other kids never seemed to talk about grandparents with Alzheimer’s or dementia, but for me it always was a topic for research papers and presentations. Now I see the value in having someone to talk to who understands and I am more than willing to lend a listening ear to anyone who needs it. No one is alone when it comes to Alzheimer’s and dementia, we just need to share stories, memories, tips, and most of all, make connections with each other.
Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.