Living with Dementia


It seems like yesterday at times, that this individual that now requires help bathing was just helping you to get ready for prom….

There is no question, dementia is a tough disease. It is a disease that has a spectrum of presentations.

The most common indicator is a family member or family members report of gradual short-term
memory loss. Individuals that get lost when driving home even though they have lived in the same
house for 30 years or leaving the stove on for hours when boiling an egg or paying bills or not paying
bills that make no sense (writing checks to programs on t.v. repeatedly). These are signs that something may be changing cognitively.

People with dementia may progress down the spectrum to inability to verbalize, inability to bathe oneself, inability to walk, inability to eat, etc. It is very difficult to watch a loved one go through anything remotely close to this. You will require support and time away to get a break. It is ok to get a break!!

It is not easy to look at a person and they look the same but mentally they have changed so

It is better to establish some things early on to avoid difficult decisions later. A few things to consider:
1. Who will be the health care surrogate?
2. Is there a Will or an Advanced directive in place?
3. What are their wishes long term? Do they prefer care givers in the home or will they eventually
require a long-term care facility?
4. What are their wishes pertaining to artificial nutrition?
5. Who will be your support network?
6. What type of insurance plans are in place and how do you get access to them?

There have been many efforts attempting to find a “cure” for dementia. There are things in the works but at present there is no consistent “cure” in the medical field for dementia. There are medications that are available to “slow progression” but not to cure. Being prepared as much as possible may help to get through a little easier. Although nothing about dementia is easy….

Try to not get frustrated when a question is asked repeatedly or a behavior that is uncharacteristic
presents. It is part of the disease. It is generally not the person attempting to agitate or anger you.
Know that you are doing your best. Whether or not your loved one can express their gratitude, they
appreciate your love and help. Sometimes they can get frustrated too when they know things are not
right and they know they have to have help in things they are so use to being independent with in the past. Continue to get support and periods of rest and relaxation as much as possible so that you can be the best and healthiest you!

You shall rise before the gray-headed and honor the aged, and you shall fear your God

Leviticus 19:32

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