There is an interesting memory phenomenon that I have witnessed not only with my mother-in-law Nan, but also with other dementia patients. Over time I began to see a correlation between how often I can to see Nan and her tendency to act out in a negative manner. The more often I came to visit, the less likely she was to be anxious or distressed. It took some time for me to notice the pattern and to link these two events together. This is especially interesting since more often than not, she completely forgets my visits before I reach my care in the parking lot. I am not saying that she remembers the actual details of our time together, but on some deeper level she seems to understand that someone loves and cares for her. It is as if a part of her knows that I have been to see her and this deeper connection seems to sustain her while I am away.
Research shows that Nan is not along in this phenomenon. Experts have witnessed this also. According to research detailed in Rebecca Mead’s article “A Sense of an Ending” in The New Yorker magazine, “endorphins released during a pleasant experience have a salutary effect on the person with dementia even after the experience is forgotten.”
So today I challenge you to that this positive information and run with it. Share you love and compassion abundantly knowing that every small thing you do truly does make a difference.