Ruth:

Ruth always tells me that during World War II the army used to bus young ladies to the post to dance with the soldiers. She was one of the ladies, and they had such a grand time. She goes into great detail when she tells me about this. It must have been an important part of her life at the time.

Ruth also always mentions to me that her children took her car keys away and that her husband died. It's easy to understand why these two stories are so significant to her.

Carolyn:

Carolyn (since deceased) didn't really have a story, but she did have something critical she told me every week. As I was leaving I always said, "I'll see you again next Thursday." And she always answered, "I don't think I'll be here. I'm going home tomorrow."

Going home was evidently one of the most persistent things on her mind.

So I always told her, "Well if you're here I'll see you and if you go home, have a wonderful time there." This response seemed to put her mind at ease.

Sue:

Sue is very shy and I've had a lot of difficulty getting her to talk to me. But one day she picked up a book from her table and showed it to me.

"It has information about every country in the world."

She opened the book to the entry about South Africa and began reading it to me. Then she went on to tell in exquisite detail how she had acquired the book and how happy she was to have it.

The next time I visited her there was a lull in the conversation so I asked about the book. Her face lit up and she told me the same exact information she'd told me the time before.

This tells me the newspaper is important to her and she really needs to know something about the countries mentioned in it. (I take her the newspaper every time I go.)

Stories Can Teach Us

If "My Ladies" don't spontaneously tell their special stories, I bring them up. Then they cheerfully tell me the details, which are normally perfectly clear in their memories.

The stories told by people with Alzheimer's can teach us a lot about their lives. They also help us find important topics to discuss when we visit, which can make our visits far more pleasant and meaningful to the person we're seeing.

Does anyone else out there have loved ones with special stories? Care to share?


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Marie Marley

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