That's true, too. For all any of us know, by the time we are fairly far along with Alzheimer's, we might very well enjoy being exactly as we are.
I worked in a nursing home for about a total of 4-5 years.
There's just too many ways it can go to decide now what I'd want then.
Yes, it does come down to, in the end, being in bed, being total care.
Then again, there're lots of things that could cause the same thing.
When I think of Dr. Stephen Hawkings, and the brilliant work he's done, I don't know how he resolved himself to be trapped in his body.
With alzheimers, when you mind goes, you can still enjoy your body.
I've known so many people with alzheimers, and with a good many of them, I've learned absolutely wonderful things, right where there were at that moment.
I learned how to cha cha from a wonderful woman named Babe. Seventy something years old, and boy could she cut a rug. Babe thought her husband Joe was still alive. Sometimes she'd get terribly upset and mad, but couldn't remember why (usually it was because a staff member had to tell her to get out of where ever she was, like someone else's room). She didn't have a clue who I was from one day to the next, but if she happened to wander into my office, she would sense I was a friendly face she knew. "Whassa matter Babe?"
"oh.....I'm just gonna jump out a window...no one cares" It didn't always work, but most of the time I'd get her to calm down by asking her what she was going to defrost for Joe's dinner.
"oh jeez....I hadn't even thought about that....I think I have a pork roast....."
me: "Oh I love pork roast! Do you make roast potatoes with that?"
Just because Babe had alzheimers, and I watched her decline over the years, that didn't make her less intelligent. In fact, Babe once gave me some wonderful advice about marriage, when she was to the point of not remembering her daughters face.
When I met her, she hadn't been able to verbalize coherently for years, and hadn't walked for months. Charlotte was however, a pistol. Some of the more serious minded residents, one's with all their faculities, just couldn't appreciate Charlotte. She didn't know how to move her wheelchair with her hands, but she could get that baby flying down a hallway, faster than you could walk, her little feet pedaling away. She delighted in traffic jams, and although she couldn't string 3 words together that made sense, she could have won a academy award the way she got her point across.
"And I said fluhshaludu on my tatledunk and go maknal when pluuey."
One other thing. Charlotte had the voice on an angel. If music was playing, she'd be there.
One day while I was working, Charlotte, all 80 pounds of her, whipped her wheelchair through my door, and didn't stop until she slammed into the wall opposite. Well, actually, that how she usually came in anywhere, but that day ended up differently for me.
Me (not even bothering to look up): 'lo Charlotte.
Charlotte: Muckamikee sloboob!
Charlotte was in a pensive mood that day, and swung her chair around to quietly sit a spell.
Softly, while gazing out a window, she started singing. I stopped dead with my work, and sat in awe while she sang. Her whole soul was revealed while she sang her wordless song. I didn't feel sorry for Charlotte at all, that she didn't have friend or family member that anyone knew of, that she couldn't feed herself, that she didn't even remember I was sitting there. Charlotte could sing.
Oh sure, I've known others who would grind their teeth, shriek, lash out...but, just like with everything, it's a stage.
I just don't know I would give myself up on the fear I'd end like that, when I see how people like Babe, Charlotte, Lou (he's a man I learned some serious lessons about love and forgiveness from) Miriam and dozens of others were, at least for a while, enjoying what they had.
I watched Charlotte die. One say she took to her bed, and was gone in a week. She had one hell of a ride though.
I watched others go downhill, and I can remember the last time I saw many of them, before they passed on.
I'd watch family members come and be so upset that their mother and father where no longer "there"
The funny thing was, they were always more upset than mom or dad.
Well, except one daughter I remember. I really had to admire her for her honesty.
Her mother Eva Glutch, loved nothing better than to walk around all day, her arms loaded down with towel and sheets she "found" on clean laundry carts, stopping to take a washcloth and wipe down the surface of anything she could find. She didn't talk, minded her work, but always had a smile on her face. When you said good morning, she'd nod her head at you in a regal way, and bestow her smile on you.
I asked her daughter if Eva had always been that way with cleaning. She said "No, not really, but then again, she never smiled either. If they ever come up with a cure for alzheimers, I never want my mother to have it. She was a strict mean woman, and look at her now."
Well, like I said, I've seen a lot of bad too.