From the Editor
Things that worked with Dementia
Hindsight being 20/20, I have reflected a lot on my mothers care before she passed away. We were lucky, my mother remained passive and good natured through the whole experience. If anything it was us who struggled with the realization her memory was going. Everyone in the family was affected by the dementia, and we were happy to support each other through this.
There are the typical things you do to help your loved one. Lots of pictures and familiar things around them, even going so far as using notes, reminders, or even conversation books. As my mothers world shrunk, she would oft j repeat the question “What happened to all my stuff?” She was an active part of the move to my house, but clearly had no memory of it.
Eventually, delusions moved in, although for the most part they were benign, and even fun. Like the time my daughter walked through the room as Mum was watching Love Boat on tv. Very politely my mother asked “Oh! Are you on this ship too?” Without missing a beat my daughter said yes and what a lovely trip it is.
As heartbreaking as it was to watch my mother be painstakingly disassembled day by day from the intelligent, caring individual she was, I realize we were lucky in both the speed and gentleness that the disease took her.
Researchers are advancing our understanding of dementia and how to prevent it and treat it. There seems to be a connection to ADHD and the onset of dementia. This has the potential to transform diagnostic approaches and courses of treatment. They have also discovered those who participate in regular aerobic activity see a significant decline in symptoms. The Brain in Motion II study is trying to understand how it can help those at risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of age-related dementia.
But the biggest thing I can pass on is if the strategy that worked last week is no longer working, don’t use it. A successful intervention at one stage can become frustrating at another. Stay nimble, and seek help wherever you find it. Hospice was a wonderful resource for us, more so than our doctor. They work with this on a daily basis and were prepared to answer any questions.
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