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another experience of big help from fellow board poster
Posted: Friday, May 26, 2017 1:15 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

Maybe I should protect this person's privacy but I won't.

Obrien just erased 6 months of my worry about how to "handle" a woman friend who I think may have dementia. We really just met last fall and walked dogs together and then she went back to the south.

We stayed in touch and I could tell she was struggling but I did not know "what to do" and now she is back and we are exchanging texts etc but she still feels unable to come over.

So I was feeling all pressured about ___ my moral responsibility? to her and if that was in opposition to honoring her request to not have the subject of a diagnosis brought up.She has said she would not want to know and does not want medical interventions.

O'Brien listens to 8 paragraphs of what to do? and replies, "She already knows".

This changed everything. I do not have any more fear about it. I understand. But wow. 

I believe many people have incredible increase and expansion of their insight as other sections of brain calm down, these brilliant moments of understanding what were complex situations.

Love you O'Brien. thank you and thank all of you who keep me heading in my own direction.

love and courage

Jo C.
Posted: Friday, May 26, 2017 2:26 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 13593

How clever of O'brien; we have all learned from what she shared.   And of course, your friend sounds as though she is a very private person.  The day may come when she will bring it up herself; if not, then it is lovely of you to respect just where she is at.  You are a good friend.


Posted: Friday, May 26, 2017 3:42 PM
Joined: 11/18/2016
Posts: 451

Thank you, Alz+,  for that very touching post. 

Your friend already knows what's going on- just like we all did. She just doesn't want those words to be said aloud because then they take on a life of their own and she can't take that back. She can pretend, like all of us, that nothing's wrong, but at the end of the day, she knows. And the fact that she gets a little defensive when the topic is brought up makes it even more difficult. It's amazing what the brain does in order to protect the heart. It is so hard to want to help someone, but you can't because they don't want the help-all you can do is be her friend. Allow her that time of denial that we all went thru- it took me years to take that first step to go to a neurologist. She will eventually come around and speak to you about it-on her terms and on her time. You have the opportunity of really helping someone who just happens to have a similar disease. Your approach has to be gentle and soothing- she is scared and no doubt, feeling very alone because even her kids aren't around for her. But if you pounce, she will run away and never come back- so much for helping a friend! Just be there for her- a regular girlfriend who walks dogs and talks just about everything. The more she trusts you, the more she will share with you- 

Thanks again Alz+, for those uplifting words.It made my day!

Posted: Friday, May 26, 2017 5:59 PM
Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 374

obrien; very comforting and wise advice.  You are truly compassionate.

alz+; how wonderful of you to be such a supportive and understanding friend.  She is lucky to know you.


Mimi S.
Posted: Friday, May 26, 2017 6:01 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027

alz+, Have you shared your diagnosis with her?
Posted: Friday, May 26, 2017 6:51 PM
Joined: 9/12/2013
Posts: 3608

Mimi - yes I did, right after we met in a parking lot because I wanted to pet her dog.

We began walking in the snow with her dog after my dog died last fall. She told me about her issues and her confusion, inability to sleep and she has trouble finishing anything, forgets, losing things etc.

Well as I read O'Brien's one sentence guide I received a text from her! And we went for walk, and she said she appreciates me understanding the "maybe I can go - no I can't" stuff we share and give her space.

She already knows - something is wrong but I asked her last fall if she ALZ would she want to know, she said "No."

She is so fun and feels like a sister or close cousin. We made it a mile today and will hang out over summer. She still drives and wants me to go with her on short jaunts.

I feel so relieved. The people who post here are so accepting, so intuitive, so smart. This is obvious to all of you, I can be incredibly self absorbed and this was like  - "right word, right time" thing. It opened the door for me to have a friend over the summer. Amazing.

love and courage

Iris L.
Posted: Friday, May 26, 2017 8:08 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 18502

There is a reason she met YOU, alz+.  You are the one who will show her that being a PWD is not what she imagines.  She can still be a person and still be herself, just as you are still your own person and still yourself.  You have opened my mind to a new way of thinking about living with dementia.  You have the Dementia Pioneering spirit!

Iris L.