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Caring for a loved one facing a disease is always a difficult task.We are worried for them but can't afford to show it or take time for ourselves. We want to always be at our top, always available for them. We want to  find the energy to appear in control, even when we don't really feel like it.

But when it comes to Alzheimer's Disease (AD) patients, there are added complexities. We want to  keep them happy and comfortable. This is not  an easy task when they might panic with no "real" reason,  fail to recognize us, repeatedly question everything we do, do something unexpected and possibly harmful to themselves, and of course forget whatever we told them, or whatever they've done within seconds. This is all very challenging, to say the least.

One of the most difficult aspects might be that WE know it is not going to get better. It's a long journey, and we know it will be difficult. But what can we do?

When I was asked to help "John", a family member who was in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, I thought I couldn't do much about it. It IS a degenerative disease, and there IS no cure at this time. However, I hadn't foreseen all the positive ways that EFT can help with. We now had  over 9 months of weekly sessions with John and his wife, Mary, the results have been noticeable. Even though EFT does not claim to cure Alzheimer's disease, it certainly relieves the burden on a daily basis both for this patient and for his wife/carer.

Here are but a few examples :

Reducing panic when John is left alone:
John used to be reasonably OK when Mary left him home alone for a short while. However, twice at that stage, even though he "knew" that Mary was not due to return before 3pm, he had started calling her mobile phone at 2:30 asking where she was. Worried that it might happen again, Mary decided to act preventatively for her next appointment at the hair dresser.
The day before the appointment, and again in the morning before going, she did some EFT with John to help him remember when and where she was going, and when she would be back. She focussed on reassuring him that he would be OK during that time. She went to the hair dresser, and returned to a happy John, waiting peacefully at home.
Letting go of an anger of several days:
John was very annoyed because he had had two Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans (MRI). He thought they were days apart (they were actually weeks apart and for different issues), and that the doctor was incompetent. He was in the medical world himself. He was talking about these MRIs again, and again, and again for hours and days. Mary had not addressed it with him because we were due for a session. At the next session, I got John to tell his story while I tapped on the  points with him. We addressed his anger at the doctor's "incompetence,"  until I could talk about the MRI, and he did not feel it was an issue anymore. Mary was delighted!
From moody to peaceful:
John was moody. His wife did not know what was happening. I had a 20-minute session with John and found out that they went to a funeral the previous day. It brought John back to his dad's funeral and of course the end of his own life. By addressing the associated anger and fear, John was relaxed again. In the evening,  Mary e-mailed to let me know that the day had gone by smoothly, to her delight.
John’s speech therapist and GP  appreciated the changes they saw after a few weeks, but the best advocate is Mary. I continue to have weekly sessions with both of them. As Mary learns how to use EFT to defuse John’s anger, fear, and panic on a daily basis, her carer’s load is easier to cary, even while the disease is progressing.

I ought to mention that all this is happening on Skype (internet and webcam), Mary and John living in France while I live in Ireland.

I want to thank Deborah Mitnick, Sarajane Thomas and Virginia McDonnell who had written about their experience with Alzheimer's Disease patients on www.emofreecom (now when I started researching it, and supported me back then. Sarajane put me in contact with Julian Dean, whose 12 years of experience with the American Alzheimer's Association as a program developer and trainer for caregivers and immense kindness are a great support. I would also be very interested if anybody wanted to share experience with EFT and Alzheimer's disease. The more people work on this, the more likely we are to find a better way to  optimise the use of EFT with AD.

Christine Disant
Other experiences can be found on the following links :