Making a Big Difference in a Small Way

I know I’m a broken record, encouraging family and friends to visit their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease. So on this day when so many spend time together, let me quote someone else who makes the same point.

Gary Chapman, the pastor who wrote The Five Love Languages, has turned his attention to Alzheimer’s disease. In a recent article in Time magazine (, he explains that visiting someone with Alzheimer’s disease is good for them and good for you.

“Many times, especially after they put them in facility, people will say, Why should I go visit? They don’t even know who I am. But there are two reasons: First, they still have the ability to feel love emotionally … And they need love, it’s the deepest emotional need humans have: to feel loved. So you are doing them a great service when you spend time with them and seek to communicate to them and try to touch them in an emotional way. But it’s good for you too, because you know you are doing the right thing. And so at the end of all of it, you’re going to feel you did everything you could do. There’s something about that that gives you a deep sense of satisfaction I think.”

Visiting someone with advanced Alzheimer’s is hard. There is no way around that. I try to focus on the satisfaction it provides, especially when J’s face lights up because I’m there. When you visit someone with Alzheimer’s disease, you have changed her world for the better for those moments. In a powerless situation, you have done everything you can do.

One thought on “Making a Big Difference in a Small Way”

  1. My Fran is much further along in the Alzheimer’s process than J. Her face never lights up. But sometimes, on a good day, I will get a twisted smile. I visit her every day, which is easier for me than for most people in similar circumstances because her memory care unit is on a different floor in the same building I live in. I do it because it may be good for her, because I want to make sure she is getting good care and because it is good for me. I would not be comfortable with myself if I didn’t do it.

    Liked by 1 person

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