Sunday, December 30, 2012

Skiing with Multiple Sclerosis Dementia

Caregiving for a spouse with Multiple Sclerosis dementia can take improvisation on my part.

Yeah I’m sure someone somewhere has written a ‘caregiving for dementia for dummies’ guide but I tend to go about caregiving intuitively. That’s how it started a quarter century ago,  why change?

Plus MS unlike other diseases associated with dementia can have such individualized physical progression; it defies a cookie cutter approach.

Picking Patti up today following yesterday’s snowfall she began talking about skiing. She has done this before following snow storms. ANYTIME Patti initiates a conversation I believe it is to be encouraged as she rarely initiates an extended conversation.

Of course here enters the dilemma – I was not part of Patti’s life when she skied. I have gotten better at faking it because I remember previous conversations and I care enough to have visited where she skied to get the lay of the land, the lodge, the slopes but regardless I’m extending a conversation that I was not part of in the real world.  I’m careful never to interject myself into her memories but rather to help her with them as long as she tries to recall an association with freshly fallen snow.

She shares, she remembers, she laughs and then it’s gone and back to now. I’m not sure that it is right, but I don’t believe it’s wrong.

Patrick Leer
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. I agree with you, Patrick. It is definitely not wrong for you to be skiing with Patti, though you never skiied with her. I think it is great she does remember those days, obviously fondly, sorry it wasn't part of your memories with her though. I think sometimes with people with dementia, we have to be where they are when they are there, even if we weren't there, as they are remembering those memories. Does that make sense? I did the same with my MIL; wherever she was at, I tried to put myself into the conversation without really admitting I might have been part of that memory of hers.

    May 2013 be a healthy year for you Patrick! Happy New Year to you, Patti and your daughter!


    1. It's somewhat like the Starfleet prime directive of 'no interference with the internal development'. I don't want to manipulate but Patti so rarely initiates conversation I don't want to fumble it. .. if that makes any sense.

  2. I do the same with my mother. I don't know her memories from before I came to be, but I let her ramble. At least she's happy in her reverie.
    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  3. I think helping Patti to remember happy times in the past, is one of the most loving things you can do, Patrick. It's all about living in the moment, isn't it, and remembering those good times makes for some happy moments. May 2013 be good to you, and to Patti.

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