The filters are gone
It is interesting to watch over time how an Alzheimer’s patient looses their social filters. They do not have the ability to see all the different angles to a situation anymore. Nor do they care. Their response can be like tunnel vision. There is only one source of light and it is straight ahead. It is simple and innocent. Here are a couple of examples:
The Roommate –
I remember my Mother being very angry with her roommate. She would boldly yell out in disgust right in front of her roommate, “I HATE my farting roommate! She stinks up the place. I can’t stand it anymore!” and then she would storm out of her room.
This is something my Mother would have never done on her worst day, but today, her filters are gone and she no longer worries about being accepted or hurting someone’s feelings. Those things just do not register anymore. She just says what she thinks and feels.
One day I was sitting in the dining room with my Mother as she was eating lunch. Mom got this evil look on her face and I could not figure out why. I turned to see what she was staring at. I still did not get it. There was an elderly gentleman eating his dinner. I did not see anything unusual, so I asked Mom, “Why are you so upset?”
“Look at him. Just look at him eating his food with his fingers. What is wrong with that man? Doesn’t he have any manners? He is disgusting!” she said in a loud and demeaning tone.
I remember thinking, “Wow, now isn’t she compassionate.” Mom never would have been so judgmental and mean. I still wonder if what triggered her anger was that she was worried she too might forget how to use utensils, but that is something I will never know.
The Big O
My Niece, Sarah and I were visiting my Mom. I asked Sarah if she would like to help me rub lotion on a Grandma. It was something my Mom enjoyed as her skin would get so dry. It also made me feel better trying to help and I always felt Mom missed being touched in a loving way.
Sarah was doing Mom’s legs and I was standing behind her doing her shoulders. All of a sudden, my Mother started moaning, really loud. Mom had never responded to having lotion applied to her like that before. Sarah looked up at me in shock. She saw my smirk and then started laughing. I think I said something to Mom like, ”So you really like you massage do you?”
My Mother replied in a very satisfied voice, “Oh ya!” and she continued to moan with her eyes shut.
All of a sudden, we saw a few heads popping in the day room where we were, checking to make sure everything was ok. People smiled as they saw how relaxed and happy Mom was.
It was a good reminder to me, that soothing physical touch is lacking with many Alzheimer’s patients. I continue to carry a small bottle of lotion in my purse, when I visit Mom. The loud moaning only occurred that one time.