Preservation of Memories - Moderate Stage Alzheimer's Disease

May 20, 2024

 Reasons to Educate Children about Alzheimer’s Disease

#1 - So that children will be comfortable around and interacting with a person who has Alzheimer’s (See January’s Blog)
#2 - Teaching children compassion (See February’s Blog)
#3 - Creating a schedule teaches children how to create a safe supportive environment in which they can thrive (See March’s Blog)
#4 - To prepare children to adapt to future changes that occur on life (See April’s Blog)

May Reason #5 - Preservation of Memories - Children learn Alzheimer’s causes memory loss and the importance of retaining and passing on family history and wisdom. 

Story:  The grandchildren sat and listened, enraptured by stories their Gran, Alder’s mom, told them about her youth. They particularly liked the story of when she was diagnosed with encephalitis as a 12-year-old and lost the ability to walk for a year. She shared with them how her brothers teased and tormented her to help her get stronger. She eventually learned to walk again and was able to tease them back. She could tell this story even though she was in the moderate stage of Alzheimer’s disease.

Information: I have heard many times, “I wish I had taken notes or recorded my grandparents talking about their experiences growing up.” It’s not too late to do this as a person with Alzheimer’s transitions to the moderate stage of Alzheimer's. Their recent memory may not work so well, but they retain their memory of the past. If you want to get the family history, this is the time.

People in the Moderate Stage, sometimes called the middle stage, of Alzheimer’s disease exhibit behaviors described in April’s blog about Mild Stage Alzheimer’s disease in addition to the following behaviors: 

  • Repeating words, phrases or actions over and over
  • Sundowning
  • Wandering
  • Trouble balancing or walking
  • Acting scared, grouchy or mean
  • Trouble choosing or putting on clothes properly
  • Forgetting how to use the bathroom

We think it’s important to address a situation that could happen when a loved one’s Alzheimer’s progresses. Sometimes people with Moderate Stage Alzheimer’s disease have significant personality changes and they do things they never would have done pre-diagnosis. They may exhibit Inappropriate sexual comments and behaviors such as touching themselves or others. If your loved one with Alzheimer’s shows any signs of these behaviors, teach children to move away from the person immediately and tell a responsible adult what is happening. As the responsible adult, protecting the child is a priority. The child should not be left alone with your loved one if this behavior persists. Please seek therapy for the child if needed and professional assistance from a social worker, doctor or gerontologist for guidance on how to handle your loved one. 

The Moderate Stage can last 2-10 years. Despite their Gran’s Moderate Stage Alzheimer’s behaviors, the grandchildren still respected and interacted with Alder’s mom because she was able to recall long term memories. They enJOYed hearing those stories she shared. 

Tips: In the Moderate Stage, it’s important to encourage your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease to share long term memories before your family history is lost. It’s also a time for them to help you identify people in old photographs before they are unable and memories of the people in the photographs are lost. 

Activities: In last month’s blog we suggested you start a memory book. Use and expand the memory book in the Moderate Stage. Children can play a wonderful role in this process by documenting stories and putting them into the book to be shared with the entire family. If the loved ones has pictures to go with the stories, include those with the stories in the memory book. 

Action: Download the PDF on how to make a memory book and watch the video about Moderate Stage Alzheimer’s Disease - Preservation of Memories with your child. Talk about things they can do to help them have a relationship with their loved one so they will be preserving positive memories. Keep the PDF handy and conveniently refer to it. Get the PDF and video downloads here.

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