For most people, the thought of living with Alzheimer’s is terrifying. Although Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and as many as 5.1 million Americans live with this condition*, many do not understand this disease. We have come to believe as a society that our reasoning, language, memory, and the power to live independently is what makes us human. But what happens when the ability to think and reason is stripped away, when everything that we believe makes us human is robbed from us? The first patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Auguste Deter, experienced this sense of loss when she said, “I have lost myself.” Sadly, this is what some patients with Alzheimer’s feel—and what others perceive: that in this disease, humanness is lost. But a person is not gone because his or her ability to think clearly is gone. A person with Alzheimer’s has needs similar to those of anyone else: needs for relationships, care, attention, safety, and joy. Just because they may not be able to express their needs, doesn’t mean those needs don’t exist. In this short video, Naomi Feil, Founder of Validation Therapy, demonstrates the power in connecting at a personal level with people who have Alzheimer’s disease. She shows us that a relationship can be maintained between someone with and someone without Alzheimer’s. Through the use of touch, song, and kind words, Naomi is able to connect with Gladys Wilson, a woman who is virtually nonverbal because of her Alzheimer’s. It’s a powerful and moving video that will speak to you about what it truly means to be human, to be made in God’s image, and to long for lasting and meaningful relationships. With approximately 1 out of 6 people living with Alzheimer’s disease, chances are you do know someone with it, so take a look at this video and then share it with your friends in honor of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.
*Statistic taken from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.