Saturday, August 1, 2015

Alzheimer's and love

Alzheimer's and love


I gave a talk last week at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. The topic was "is happiness necessary?" Before my presentation I was asked to have dinner with several church members had someone home where I was approached by an elderly gentleman and his wife. The man looked to be in his mid-80s and his wife appeared 10 years younger. Clearly there was something cognitively amiss with his wife as she immediately began to touch, almost caress my face and say "you look like such a nice person". She then picked up my necktie and commented about how pretty it was. Not knowing how impaired she was, I said that it was from the Boys and Girls Club. She gave me a warm maternal smile and said "that's so nice. You have somewhere to go after school." At which point her husband told me she had Alzheimer's.

During my speech they sat near the front row so I could see that she was in understanding much of what I had to say. But when I finished, she was one of the first people to come to the stage. With tears in her eyes she said to me: "yes, it is about love. Everything that is important is about love" and then we hugged.

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About this blog
Dan Gottlieb is a psychologist and marital therapist and has been in practice nearly 40 years. His career started in community mental health and substance abuse until his accident in 1979 made him a quadriplegic.

Since that time, he has been in private practice. Since 1985, he has been hosting a radio show called "Voices in the Family" on WHYY FM, Philadelphia's NPR affiliate. He was a regular columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1994 until 2008. He is also the author of four books.

Voices In The Family on WHYY

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