Oh yes, Alzheimer’s is like The Wizard of Oz.
Our loved ones can spin off on relentless and ridiculous quests for lost items or out of longing for home.
Everyday it can feel like we are venturing into a dream world. We’re just putting on a show.
Sometimes the show is for our carees. We orchestrate opportunities for stimulation and love and empowerment and carry out our days entertaining our loved ones’ trips down memory lane or voyeurs into la-la land… we are constantly performing.
We walk alongside Dorothy, morphing from one character to another, day in and day out.
I’ll get you my pretty…
Sometimes, when we don’t take care of ourselves we can get pretty ugly.
Sometimes we’re the villain when we have to make difficult choices for our loved ones’ well-being and safety.
We’ve all played the Wicked Witch a time or two.
Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!!!!
As a dementia caregiver, we can be both feared and revered.
If we’re not careful, we end up running the show to the end that we are putting on a show. For the world, taking on what can feel like a whole city crying your name trying to prove we are great and powerful. We back ourselves into a curtained booth, hiding behind a scary mask. One false move and we are found out by a tiny dog with a gruesome underbite.
You had it in you all along…
When we are at our best, we are like Glenda the Good Witch. She is full of love and kindness, and her presence is calming. Glenda helps Dorothy find her way home, only giving her enough information needed at each point in her journey to complete her mission. She helps Dorothy realize she’s had the power she within herself all along.
“He’s really gentle – with gentle people, that is.“
When Miss Murch comes for Toto after he snapped at her, Auntie Em lets her know how she feels about her. Sometimes as caregivers, we have to get in the face of those who are trying to take things away from the ones we love.
At the end of the movie, when she rejoins everyone in reality, their response is one of comfort and reassurance. Auntie Em calmly takes Dorothy’s hand, looks her in the eye, and listens. Uncle Henry goes along with it, agreeing with her reality. Every dementia caregiver knows that our responses to the confusion should mirror that of Auntie Em and Uncle Henry.
Dorothy: Doesn’t anyone believe me?
Uncle Henry: Of course we believe you.
We offer our love, even when we feel like we have no heart. We put on a brave face, even when we feel like the Cowardly Lion. Sometimes, we get stuck until someone comes along and bend the nail down.
Oh, yes, Alzheimer’s is like The Wizard of Oz.