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Thursday, April 4, 2019

D - Dementia

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

D is for Dementia

"The baby boomers are getting older, and will stay older for longer.  
And they will run right into the dementia firing range.  How will a society cope?  
Especially a society that can't so readily rely on those stable family relationships
 that traditionally provided the backbone of care?
Terry Pratchett

Dementia (in all its ugly and life-shattering forms) is the Elephant In The Room - for retirees.  It is a tough topic that no one wants to face - a bullet everyone wants to dodge.  For anyone who has seen dementia in a loved one, it is more than just an unpleasant topic.   And it is a growing health care concern for everyone in our society.

Both my grandmother and mother had dementia.  I got to stare dementia right in the eye and face the fact that with my familial history - I could be looking at my own future. 

When I think about that possibility too long, I want to stop typing - like right now!  Get up from the computer and walk away - and tell myself over and over again ...

 No, Not To Me.  
This will not happen to me.   No!

It is my gut reaction to dementia.  It is the scariest, saddest and most depressing of all diseases.  Well, maybe not for the person who has dementia.  But for the family watching it progress, it is devastating.  It slowly rips up your relationship with a loved one - one day at a time for years and years - until the elder doesn't even know your face!





If memory was the only thing lost - it would be almost a kindness.  But in the end - if dementia continues its normal slow torturous progression through the human brain, it impacts many of the body's systems ... even the inability to swallow a sip of water.  

The pain felt by family members doesn't easily pass either.  Now, almost 4 1/2 years from my mother's death from dementia I tear up at her suffering.   I still remember to this day - every single microbe of independence and humanity that was stripped from her.

So my advice to all is this ...


Enjoy your life 
while your brain is whole!
Nothing is promised in the future.
Nothing.



18 comments:

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

That's some good advice!

https://seal-of-melchizedek.blogspot.com/2019/04/dallas-texas-temple.html

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Yes, a crippling of normal life. My mother suffered memory loss very gradually and Dad "covered" for years so it took some time for us to have it sink in. Many blessings to you for your strength to help your mother all those years.


http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com/

Marie Smith said...

Wise words! Live and love every minute!

Susan said...

We are watching this with my father. There is that scary part, where they realize they are sinking into the dementia pit, until the awareness winks out. It is terrifying.

Susan Scott said...

O my goodness, those of us who've never experienced witnessing a family member suffering from this awful disease (is it a disease or a disorder) can never know the depth of suffering. Thank you for bringing the reality of it into the spotlight -

Lynn Proctor said...

Yes it is a cruel disease- I too lost my mother to it💜

Sonia Chatterjee said...

I can't imagine how painful it must have been for you. I hope your post spreads awareness on this deadly disease.

Retired Knitter said...

Yes, the elderly get very good at "covering" because not covering usually leads to less independence. My mom was very good at it. Then she moved into our home and we realized the scope of her functioning.

Retired Knitter said...

So right Marie.

Retired Knitter said...

It amazes me when I mention dementia - on the blog or in my regular life, how many people are dealing with this. Scary.

Retired Knitter said...

Hopefully you won't ever have to deal with it in yourself or your family. But the numbers of those impacted seems to grow.

Retired Knitter said...

So sorry.

happyone said...

It sure is a scary thought. My mom had Alzheimer's. Her heart gave out though before it got too bad, which was a blessing.

Retired Knitter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Retired Knitter said...

Yes it was a blessing. And it is scary.

Retired Knitter said...

It was painful because my mom who was widowed in her 40s and lived independently into her 70s valued her independency. It pained me to see it all slip away.

Retired Knitter said...

Wendy - I think I accidentally deleted your comment. I am so sorry. That was my error. But I did want to respond.

If dementia follows its normal path without failure of something else - like a heart attack - you are right. That cannot be managed at home. Mom lived her last year of life in a nursing home - something I promised would never happen to her - but there was no choice. I could not manage her physically. So glad you were able to visit frequently. That is the key to successful care in a nursing home.
A watchful unpredictable eye on what is going on. I feel VERY strongly about that.

Wendy said...

No my comment was and still is on your previous post. Succumbing to dementia is my nightmare too - hence I'm always trying to keep my brain trained. Yes being able to keep an eye on Mum gave me some peace of mind. She succumbed from a bout of pneumonia in the end and although she was hospitalised for it she spent her last few days in a special unit designed for end of life/respite for palliative care patients. It was much better than being in the main hospital even if she'd been in a single room. We were able to come and go whenever and there was a lounge/kitchen area for us to use and I could stay overnight.