I can’t even spell Allsimers
Yet you want me to be sensitive to your plight? I’m part of a generation where the word senile is used to explain any older adult that is acting a little odd. To me, it sounds kinda cute to be senile. “Oh, she’s just being senile”, as we see our dear granny doing something silly. I hear about people wandering but I don’t understand why they got lost. I see TV representations of an old guy that doesn’t remember names, but he’s just old, after all. Aren’t all of these problems caused by old age or some sort of mental illness?
Remember, I’m very ignorant
Alzheimer’s isn’t taught in school. I’ve never had a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. As sad as it is, the only place for me to easily learn about the disease is from TV, but there I only catch glimpses into the disease. I guess I could study the disease on the internet but there are so many other fun things to do. Why would I sacrifice my free time to learn this crazy disease?
BTW, your loved one looks OK to me
I just had a conversation with your loved one. They were telling me about their days as a youth. How neat. They’re just reminiscing, aren’t they? I do that too. There’s nothing wrong with them. What am I missing? You have to educate me. If you don’t, you’re not helping eliminate the misunderstanding and stigma surrounding cognitive impairment.
Ignorance breeds fear
As someone that has never been affected by Alzheimer’s disease, I am very uninformed about it. If I know someone who gets the disease, I would like to think I will still be a good friend but I can’t honestly say that I too won’t shy away. I’m asking myself why that is and it comes back to my ignorance. No one has ever explained the disease to me, so I don’t know what to expect, how to act, or how to respond to situations. This scares me.
I want to believe that if you teach me about your loved one, I will not shy away because my fear of the unknown and my fear of personal embarrassment (very selfish I know) will be gone. It hasn’t always worked that way in the past, though. I’m still a little hesitant around care recipients but I’m getting better. I force myself not to run because I want to be an advocate not a hypocrite. But most people run away. They hide and avoid the situation so they never learn – ignorance is bliss.
I’m Sorry, But It’s Your Responsibility
I know you already carry the largest load of all. I know you believe others just don’t care. But educating others is your duty. Without knowledge, we are ignorant and ignorance breeds fear. Educating won’t help everyone understand because a lot of people just don’t give a hoot. But before you write people off, you have to at least try. Please give me the benefit of the doubt – at least initially. You of all people know how complicated this disease is every minute of every day. Educate me and let’s change the world together.
God bless you.
Your family member
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Related TinT Article:
Involving Family & Friends in a Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s
I know it’s not always easy, but how do you share with your friends and family? Please share in the comments below.