Dear Dementia Diary,
Stop and think about this. If I had a broken leg and was struggling to get the door open, would you help me open that door? Of course! It’s human nature to assist when we see someone in need. Now, I have a broken brain and I say and do things that are not “normal” in our society.
How can you help me? You can smile at me and not point out my mistakes. If my brain was not breaking down, I would not be doing or saying these things. That human desire to assist someone in need is required even more for people living with dementia.
What might it be like to have dementia? My first thought is its incredibly frightening. It is the fourth most feared disease in the world and my bet is that it is slowly creeping up the chart. We all crave safety, security, a sense of purpose and to feel in control of our lives. All of these are compromised. Can you imagine this for yourself … that you are unsure of your surroundings; that faces and places don’t seem familiar any longer; that you are unable to do the activities of daily living without an incredible amount of thought or even having someone else do them for you? Do you realize that it takes over 80 steps to make a cup of coffee? A simple task that we all take for granted. Our healthy brains can do most of the steps without even thinking. Now, put yourself in the shoes of someone living with dementia. It must be so frustrating! No one signs up for this.
It is said that when you meet one person with dementia, you have met one person with dementia. This disease will affect you and me very differently. It is not black and white, but can be various shades of grey. Understanding this disease is paramount and understanding how this disease is affecting a person is a valuable tool for you and for the person you are supporting.
There are three ‘categories’ (I’m not big on labels) of persons with dementia:
As we progress through this disease together, let’s find it in our hearts and healthy minds to keep the perspective of what it might be like to be the one with dementia as it’s not their fault.