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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Memories February 19, 2013

My grandson and I spent the day at the Arizona Science Center where we saw an exhibit on Alzheimer's disease as part of the section about the brain headed by a large photo of Albert Einstein.
We saw models of a snake's brain, a rat's, a cat's, a monkey's and a real preserved human brain. We tried to assemble or disassemble metal puzzles that are intersected in seemingly impossible ways; we placed helmets on our heads and practiced remaining more calm than our opponent so that a ball in a tube moved across the table, directed by low alpha and theta waves. Grant practiced facial recognition and letter recognition, realizing that information when chunked, is remembered more easily.
The description about Alzheimer's disease highlighted a remembered story in the early life of a woman who had grown up on an Arizona- New Mexico ranch. As a grey-haired person she was able to recount this story of personal responsibility easily, contrasting with the inability of Alzheimer's diseased people to remember anecdotes and insinuating that memory is the key that differentiates humans from all other mammals.
We who are care partners of loved ones who have any form of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease know that is not true.
As my husband's memory declines, he has lost the anxiety that controlled his life. He worried about supporting his family. He worried about his children's safety. He worried about the stock market's activity and more recently, he worried if we had sufficient gasoline in the car.
Now he is peaceful. He can enjoy activities such as playing catch with Grant in the backyard, he gets pleasure from his daily routine and from the several people who greet him warmly each hour.
He hugs me lovingly when I arrive . And when asked he still says, "That's my wife, Phyllis."

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