Q. My mom, who lives with us, has Alzheimer’s disease. She barely speaks anymore and I wonder if she understands anything that is going on around her.
People with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of memory loss often seem to live in a different reality or a different time and place. Despite this disconnect, we should not simply dismiss a person as “gone,” or focus so narrowly on all the abilities that the person has lost. Instead, we must focus on the uniqueness of each person and bring an open mind to how we address their needs — the basic human needs we all share.
The most basic human need is for safety and security. Although there is certainly a physical component, it is really the consistent, caring relationships with others that give a person with memory loss a feeling of well-being.