In my previous post, I mentioned that recently we’ve had a range of experiences from high to low. Sometimes the change comes quickly. That was true night before last. I was about to get in bed when I noticed that Kate was awake and looked frightened. I asked if I could help her. She asked my name and then hers. She told me she was scared, that she didn’t know anything. Typically, this happens in the morning. She is not normally this way at night. She was also more frightened than usual.
I took my usual approach to her when this happens. I tried to be as reassuring and comforting as possible. I told her I thought I could help her and that I knew a lot about her and her family. I mentioned that we have a number of family photo books that have a lot of information about her family. She said she would like to see them.
I brought her the “Big Sister” album that her brother made for her. I didn’t try to go through the book. Instead, I focused on selected photos and sections starting with the cover photo of her and her brother. She has always been taken by that picture. We went through a few early pictures soon after each of them was born. Then I skipped to a section that has several of our wedding pictures. It wasn’t long before she was relaxed and said, “I feel better now.”
The quickness of her change was striking. I don’t think she remembered her past any better than she had before we started, but the pictures and information gave her a sense of comfort. No longer was she adrift without any connection to world. Kate’s brother Ken, who also has Alzheimer’s, created the book to help her as her memory faded. He could not have known how valuable it has been. I am grateful to him for this gift that keeps on giving.