There is a difference between Alzheimer’s disease and the dis-ease of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is a biological condition. It occurs in the brain. It involves the death of brain cells. The dis-ease of Alzheimer’s, however, is the emotional isolation that many people with dementia and their loved ones experience when “normal” communication breaks down.
Emotional isolation produces loneliness, anxiety, and depression. It intensifies feelings of sadness, grief, guilt, shame, paranoia, and helplessness. Emotional isolation is even a risk factor for dementia and, research indicates, it increases the risk of dementia by 40%.
Ending emotional isolation, therefore, can eliminate significant suffering.
Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, the dis-ease of Alzheimer’s can be healed. Each of us, by virtue of being human, can participate in the healing.
“To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities for life, the light that is shining in them.”
“All real living is meeting.”
“I think something happens to us when we give. There’s a better self in us that comes to the surface, gasping for air, glad to be let out.”
“We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community.”
“Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am everything. Between the two, my life flows.”
Barn’s burnt down— Now I can see the moon.