July Caregiving Tips:

1. Support your loved one by introducing yourself when you first see her for the day. This is especially important when she is being cared for in a facility, where she encounters different people and names throughout the day. Occasionally, she may become annoyed with you for doing this; if it's helpful, continue offering this information. If not, you can stop.

2. Remember, as caregivers it's necessary to attempt a variety of strategies in response to our loved one's needs. Your observations regarding their effectiveness will guide you as to whether they are welcome and helpful, or irksome, without the desired effect.

3. Don't forget to use those most wonderful of words: “I love you.” Tell her often how much you love her. Reassure her that you will always be there for her. That you are in this together. She will remember the emotion within these statements and her behave will reflect this afterglow.

4. Keep in mind that all behavior has meaning. Your loved one's behavior may seem odd and inappropriate, but it is the way in which she communicates. Therefore, the question we need to ask is: What is this behavior telling me?

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With kind regards,
Catherine Gentile, editor
Together With Alzheimer's Ezine​


Being a caregiver is a tough job, one we can do,
especially when we have the right support. 

As Christopher Robin tells Pooh: 
           "Promise me you'll always remember:
You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem,
and smarter than you think."

So are we. 


Meets every Wednesday, from 7:00-8:00
To discuss our experiences with caregiving and share information and resources
within a supportive and caring environment.

Conference Room
  Sacred Heart Parish Center,
326 Main St, Yarmouth, Maine
All are welcome to attend at no charge.  

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 That Challenging Trio: 
Suspiciousness, Hallucinations, and Paranoia

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Dear Fellow Caregivers:

This is a particularly poignant issue for me as during her illness, my mother endured hallucinations and all manner of suspiciousness. Managing the hurt from some of the very odd accusations we as a family heard was a real challenge. The reminder that these were manifestations of a diseased brain soothed me intellectually but not emotionally. But witnessing my mother's vulnerability moved me and my family beyond our hurt and filled us with the desire to support her as much as we could. The effort taxed and tired.

Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. The fascinating thing about caregiving is how much it changes you. I hear and see this again and again in the fabulous people that attend our weekly support group, “Together With Alzheimer's: Support and Care for the Caregiver.” I urge you to participate in such a group. If you are in the Greater Portland, Maine area, you are welcome to join us, Wednesdays at 7:00 in Yarmouth. FMI: contact me at:  

If caregivers were asked to identify one of the most startling, most heartbreaking statements they'd heard from their loved one, they would say: “the time my wife asked, 'Who are you? You're not my husband (or wife).'” Talk about taking your breath away!

We often think of Alzheimer's dementia, aka, brain failure, as an inability to recall words, names, and recent events. Sometimes persons with dementia also experience agnosia, an inability to recognize sensations, and from these identify familiar persons, places, and things. Agnosia is the failure of the brain to connect sensory input (e.g., visual) with a person, place, or thing the individual knows. If you find the distinction between agnosia and compromised word recall fuzzy, you're not alone. What's important to grasp is that both agnosia and memory issues feed into the confusion your loved one may be experiencing. And that confusion can fuel suspiciuosness, hallucinations, and paranoia.

So, if your loved one shocks you with the claim that you're not her spouse, stay calm. She has her concept of you, her husband, neatly tucked away in her memory bank. However, at the moment, with whatever is occurring (or not occurring) within her brain, she's telling you she's unable to determine exactly who you are. She might confuse you for her father, an uncle, or an intruder (stay calm applies here, too). As distressing as this is, please avoid arguing to your list of how best to respond; arguing wastes time and tends to make the situation worse. Besides, your wife won't recall the specifics of what you argued about, but you can bet that she'll remember that you left her feeling angry or sad or depressed. And she will let you know she feels this way through her behavior which will most likely be negative.

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