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Cat_Lover_58
Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2017 4:25 PM
Joined: 1/12/2017
Posts: 9


I've gotten to know a wonderful woman over the last 4 months and recently we started dating. She shared over the New Year's weekend that she has Early Onset Alzheimer's and Short Term Memory Loss. 

I'm here for her and, at this point, just want to know how best to communicate with her. I don't want to frustrate her or embarrass her. 

She's the answer to a prayer I said months and months ago. I believe she and I are together for a reason. Am I there for her? Her me? 

I need, perhaps, some help from the LGBT community specifically. Thank you, Cat


The_Sun_Still_Rises
Posted: Thursday, January 12, 2017 4:37 PM
Joined: 7/24/2015
Posts: 3020


 

Hi, and welcome....and how thoughtful of you.  If we all could be so lucky.

I think (and this just my opinion) it best start by remembering she is still a whole person, the same one she was before all this started.  Alz and dementia take your ability communicate....but not your awareness.  Often times people assume that because we can no say something about something that we are not aware, but we are. 

There is a concept of re-abling a person.  Dementia and Alz dis-able us....and it helps re-able us.  This might include helping put supports in place help her....like, signs, or easy follow step-by-step instructions. 

Along the same lines is being a back-up brain.  When she is struggling for a word, knowing the word helps. 

Teepa Snow on YouTube is a great resource for ways talk us when we are advancing in dementia as well.  How approach us, be in our field of vision....which side we see better on....all that. 

SOME people dementia like go out and do things....you know, we still want live.  But MOST us...as we progress can do less and less....and it actually is hard on us take us out.

As well, keeping distractions a minimum....so talking while TV becomes hard process.  Or jumping around in a conversation. 

It is generally considered good etiquette stay on topic....like if you are talking about horses, don't suddenly talk about football. 

There are some video support groups for her, and maybe you can help her with those.  One is through Dementia Alliance International or DAI and through someone there, there is a LBGT specific group as well. 

As well, the book, Dancing With Dementia by Christine Bryden was the best insight I found what it is like live with dementia, and what is still possible with dementia....you might read it and gift it her.

Hope you will share more of your journey as you go.

 

<3


Mimi S.
Posted: Sunday, January 15, 2017 5:01 PM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7036


Hi Cat Lover,

Just let her  know you believe her and that she can talk with y at any time.

There are a few such diagnosed folks on our board.  This site isn't used that much, so introduce yourself there.

And ask your friend to come on and introduce herself.  She can just read until she's comfortable posting.

I 'm Still Alice by Lisa Genova is fiction about a professional woman diagnosed with Younger Onset.  It is written after consulting with a group of such Younger Onset folks.  Some of us felt it hit too close to home to read.  Know that for sake of the movement of the story, the progression of symptoms was truncated.  Try it yourself first.  Ask at your library.  Also, written by a PWD  On Pluto.

There are others. I'm sure folks will add to list.


Jo C.
Posted: Monday, January 16, 2017 12:52 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 9941


Hello Cat Lover and a very warm welcome to you.  How wonderful that you have found that special person in your life and that the two of you are committed to one another.

When a person comes onto the Message Board, I always try to express to them that everything you read on the Board does not mean it will happen to your own Loved One, (LO).  Each person with dementia is different from the next.  While some persons with dementia will have a fast course or have more difficulties, there are many who have a slower course with slower advancement of their dementia and not everyone has the severity of issues written about.

It has only been four months since you and your partner have been together; you are still learning about one another and during that process you will learn how she responds to different things and what is important to her and what makes her comfortable.  This will be the beginning of learning about her that will carry into the future.

I would like to invite you to contact the Helpline at the Alzheimer's Assn. at (800) 272-3900.  There are no fees for their services.  If you call, please ask to speak to a Care Consultant.  Consultants are highly educated Social Workers who specialize in dementia and they can provide you with support, much information, recommend readings for you and can also assist with problem solving and more.  This would be a good starting point.

The Alzheimer's Assn. has been working to extend their outreach to the LGBT folks and if you do call, they may be able to point you to a support group specifically for LGBT in your area if one does exist there.  If not, there will be other support groups available that will welcome you.

I would also like to whole heartedly invite you to write on any Forum on the Message Board you wish to.  There is a specific Forum for Spouses and Partners.  We have had other folks there from the LGBT group and they have always been welcomed with open arms and became part of that Forum.  One for all and all for one, we support one another.

The reason I mention the Spousal/Partner Forum is that this particular Forum you are on now has very scant interaction and you can benefit and learn more on the more populated Forums and your questions will be addressed by more people sharing their experiential wisdom.

In any case, whatever you decide to do, welcome to you; we are so glad you found us.  We are all here to support one another and that now includes you too.

Please do let us know how you are and how things are going, we will be thinking of you and we truly do care.

J.


Cat_Lover_58
Posted: Monday, January 16, 2017 4:38 PM
Joined: 1/12/2017
Posts: 9


Thank you everyone for the warm welcome & the information. I'm quickly scribbling down a few ideas! I've been in touch with a local support group here in my town that meets monthly. And I also received much information from what I think is the National Support Group. I'm trying to keep things simple right now. I'm just focusing on how best to communicate with my love and my humor. 

 

More later...


grandmalynda
Posted: Friday, January 20, 2017 8:40 AM
Joined: 12/3/2016
Posts: 374


Hi cat lover.  A warm welcome to our community.  As others have said, I would encourage you to browse any of the other boards you may be interested in.  There is so much valuable information here.

Again, welcome.

--Lynda

 


Cat_Lover_58
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2017 10:07 AM
Joined: 1/12/2017
Posts: 9


Well, this is a tough decision I'm making today. I actually made it last night. I can be this woman's friend but nothing else seems to be clear. This is the new girlfriend.

We are friends and the memory loss and not knowing me or what I've told her is just too much for me. So here I am at the public library on a computer. I'm starting to cry and I'm just so angry. 

In part, I'm angry about circumstances in her life. The stress and drama are all there, complete with step-kids, ex-girlfriends, and just too much drama for me. I've seen her back off from our relationship the past couple of weeks, so the friends thing might be easier. 

Still, I feel like a failure and am angry that her issues, problems, etc. are the ONLY things that count. She's not been there for me a few times when I was upset with my family issues. 

I cannot say more. Just still, for me, it was a learning experience and also I learned that I am ready to open my heart to a love relationship with a somebody special. It's been 10 years and I am ready. 

Thanks for caring and listening, Cat


Jo C.
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2017 12:32 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 9941


Hello Cat, I am truly very sorry and send you my understanding.  Your friend will continue to develop problem issues and her memory will continue to decline.   If you see odd reactions or actions to and with things, remember that her judgment and reasoning are compromised and it may be difficult for her to process things well.

You have been a good friend and are gaining much insight in to the realities of this situation and what exists;  you have learned much. 

Sincere best wishes are coming your way and again, I am truly sorry for the heartbreak.

J.


Cat_Lover_58
Posted: Thursday, January 26, 2017 12:57 PM
Joined: 1/12/2017
Posts: 9


Thank you J. Perhaps as I've said in the past months...if she and I were only meant to be friends then that's okay by me. Difficult yes, but absolutely true. She'll come into where I work every morning, sometimes twice, and we'll say hi. Guess that's enough.
Jo C.
Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2017 9:44 AM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 9941


You are very wise; warmest of best wishes are sent your way.

J.