I get that it is hard for many people to visit J now that she has Alzheimer’s disease and is at a residential facility. She is not who you remember her as. But the essential J is still there, and it important for her to have regular visitors, whether she recognizes you or not.
Our friend, D, left the scene for a while. Even though we have been friends for 30 years, it was difficult for her, especially since she had lived through her own parents’ dementia. She recently returned to us, and we couldn’t be more thrilled and grateful. Here is a guest blog from D about her first visit with J at her CCRC:
So, I had a wonderful visit with J. I’d pulled into the driveway of the place, to see if there was parking…none was to be had…but I drove past the porch and immediately recognized her as she was sitting there reading. I thought she saw me wave as I went by, and worried when there was no recognition on her face. But when I walked up, her whole face lit up. It was lovely to see her. She showed me around the place, took me to her room, and we we sat in various places to talk as she showed me around. I wanted to go out on the patio next to her room, but she pointed at the sign above the door that said ‘THIS IS NOT AN EXIT’ and indicated that she shouldn’t go out there. So maybe you can convince her that she can use it, as it looks inviting. She expressed that she likes it there, said the food is good, the library is large, said she’s made friends with some people, and she loves the patios. She said that in the afternoon, she mainly reads and ‘walks’. When I left, she immediately ducked into the music room to listen to someone playing classical piano.
You did a great job, A. She’s well and has a good life there. She stopped to greet someone in a wheelchair, introduced me, and spoke enthusiastically about her new home.
I’m so glad I visited and look forward to seeing her again soon.
Xoxo right back at you, D. Thanks for being a brave and loyal friend.