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Esther Heerema, MSW

The Challenge of Shadowing in Dementia

By November 30, 2012

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Shadowing in Dementia. It's exactly what the word says.

Picture this: It's summer and beautifully sunny out. A young child is running around and watching his shadow follow him wherever he goes. He stops; it stops. He runs; it chases him. He raises his arm; so does the dark form on the cement. Whatever he does and wherever he goes, so does the shadow.

So it can be with a person who has Alzheimer's. They may follow their loved one around everywhere, likely because that person is their security. It's understandable that in a world of confusion and uncertainty, one would cling to the only familiar person in all of it.

While some people don't seem to mind, shadowing can be difficult for other caregivers to handle at times. The ever present person who, because of the effects of dementia, follows you to the bathroom, out the door, into the kitchen, into the sitting room and upstairs. As much as you love him, you might want a little space, or a brief time alone.

So, what can you do to get a reprieve without upsetting your loved one? Recently I put together some thoughts on how to handle this behavior in the article below.

Shadowing in Alzheimer's Disease: What Is It and How Can You Cope with It?

Have any ideas? Is there something that's worked well for you?

November 30, 2012 at 10:40 pm
(1) Lori La Bey says:

I just wanted to let you know I nominated you for an blog award. You can go here for details.


You are doing great work thank you!

December 3, 2012 at 8:55 pm
(2) Lon Cole says:

Here is poem about shadowing
Having a Shadow

Sometimes life is like having a shadow
That follows every step that you take
At first seems like an honor
But in time all want is break

You need your own space a place all alone
But your shadow denies what you seek
It wears you down and tires your soul
And your spirit be comes also weak

Its time to realize why your shadow is near
And remind you of its darkness and fears
The burden you bare is a lesson to learn
The light that you give eraces the fears

By Lon Cole

December 3, 2012 at 11:06 pm
(3) Esther Heerema, MSW says:


What a beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing it!


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