Tips For Caregiver's

People with Alzheimer's disease frequently become more disoriented after dark or when waking. Leaving a night-light on in the bedroom may be helpful.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Through Someone Else's Eyes

I was so intrigued by a comment posted by a reader to "Off Kilter!" posted on Thursday, January 3, 2008 that I had to talk more about it.

Glorious Hats said...

"Do you wonder sometimes if the retreat into confusion is a response to difficult, unbearable thoughts? How painful to lose a child - even one that is 60 or 70 years old. Unfortunately, the protection result - if that is indeed what it is- is also painful and frustrating."

I never pondered that perhaps Muddear's reaction is a psychological defense mechanism. After a quick search in Wikipedia, I found that in Freudian psychoanalytic theory, defence mechanisms are psychological strategies brought into play by individuals, groups and even nations to cope with reality and to maintain self-image. The purpose of the Defence Mechanisms is to protect the mind/self/ego from anxiety, social sanctions or to provide a refuge from a situation with which one cannot currently cope.

According to this theory, there are 4 categories of defence mechanisms. I only plan to elaborate on Category One, as it seems most relevant, because it includes:

Denial: Refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening; arguing against an anxiety provoking stimuli by stating it doesn't exist; resolution of emotional conflict and reduce anxiety by refusing to perceive or consciously acknowledge the more unpleasant aspects of external reality.
Distortion: A gross reshaping of external reality to meet internal needs.
Delusional Projection: Grossly frank delusions about external reality, usually of a persecutory nature.

Now that I have had my psychology lesson for the day, I will try to be more patient with Muddear during these times of confusion. In addition, I will look for signs of triggers that may be responsible for sending Muddear spiraling into confusion in an effort to thwart them in their tracks. I know I cannot protect her from everything, but I can attempt to shield Muddear from many things.

Sometimes we need to step outside of ourselves to see more clearly. Thanks Jane!


Glorious Hats said...

Oh, got you thinking, after you got me wondering. I'm one of those people who settle better if a "reason" can be found, so always looking.

Please though, don't beat yourself up thinking you should or ought to protect M from everything that has a potential to upset. It is usually easier to see these things in hindsight than in foresight.

She did great with the visits to Walter.

You are awesome, if I had a daughter, would like her to have your strength and courage. You rock. Hugs, Jane

njm said...

Thanks Jane!

As I'm sure you know, the "off kilter" days are difficult for us as well. You are right, we can't protect Muddear from everything. So, I'll just take one day at a time and do the best that I can.