J: The above question is asked of me over and over again. I was at a big party last night and I must have been asked it a dozen times. I know that people are genuinely interested in our parents' welfare and I truly appreciate everyone's concern. The problem is, the answer is always the same: "they are ok". Sometimes I say "they are hanging in". A few people will follow up the first question with a second, something like "do they still recognize you? Would they recognize me if I saw them?". The answers here are yes, they recognize me and maybe, they might recognize you. The problem with this conversation is it doesn't really advance the questioner's knowledge of my parents' well being and it leaves me feeling angry about this damned disease.
I'd like to suggest a different conversation. This is one I intend to have with people dealing with this disease going forward. I envision it going something like this. "I've been thinking a lot about you and (insert AD patient's name here). I know what you're going through and I know how awful this disease it. Please know that I am keeping all of you in my daily prayers."
Prayer is our best weapon at this point, and knowing that people are praying does provide comfort and support. The truth is that each day our parents slip a little more. There is no U turn. No riverside. It's a one way street. Prayer. That's it.
So the next time you think to ask how an AD person is doing, stop and say a prayer and then let them know that you'll do it again tomorrow. Thanks in advance for the prayers. We need them!