“Can I call you Mama?” I asked as my aunt reached for my hand. I was seven and spending part of my summer with my mother’s only sister. She had lived with us when I was very young while her new husband was overseas. She entertained me with songs like “The cannibal king with the big nose ring…” and “I went to the animal fair.” We shared so many laughs together. As a teen, I thought Aunt Jane would never grow old. I was convinced that her zest for life would stop time. For a while it seemed to work, but tragically, her mind hasn’t cooperated.
On her last visit to our home, the only items that she recognized were things that once belonged to my grandmother, her mother. After she left I watched a video of her visit two years prior and cried at the difference.
On one of my visits, Aunt Jane didn’t even know my mother, her sister, had passed away. Mama had been gone nearly forty years. Every one she asked about had died. She received the news like it was new. My aunt, who had been a lifeline after my terrible loss, no longer remembered. Despite this, she has kept her ability to enjoy life.
Do you have someone dear to you who no longer remembers? On Larry’s last visit with his mother before she died, she didn’t know him. However, she remembered Jesus. She would pray and recall scriptures as she peacefully sat in her room. She kept her contentment.
When your loved one experiences memory loss, in many ways you suffer more than they. Your agony is watching them slip away—inch by inch. If you live near them, then the chores they used to do with ease become your responsibility, including personal maintenance.
Veteran author, Cecil Murphey, offers practical help for those dealing with loved ones experiencing memory loss in his new gift book, When Someone You Love No Longer Remembers. Besides the short vignettes from those living with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, the book gives practical tips in various areas. Below are a few highlights.
Take Care of Yourself: Ask for help. You—the caregiver—are at an increased risk for depression and illness, especially if you don’t receive support from your caring community.
Communicating with Your Loved One: Don’t treat your loved one as if she isn’t present. Speak directly to her. Insist that visitors do the same.
Exercise and Activities: Allow him as much independence as possible. Let him do what he can while he can.
Expecting the Unexpected: Do what you can to prevent her getting outside to wander. If she does wander, don’t blame her or yell at her. Make sure she wears some kind of identification. Notify her neighbors.
Jesus sees the selfless acts of kindness you do for your loved one. Even if she can’t remember, He will. He says, “When you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” (Matthew 25:40 NLT).
|When Someone You Love No Longer Remembers
By Cecil Murphey / Harvest House Publishers
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