Understanding Dementia

Written on: October 31, 2019

We are starting a new section to share knowledge about Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. These diseases can strike anyone, young or old and have many different causes and forms. While each person’s and family’s experience is unique, there are some common experiences and things which deserve our attention.

One of the most challenging initial experiences of dementia can be the ‘loss’ of information. It is generally only after many corrections, that we might begin to realize something more is going on with ourselves, or our loved one. For the person with dementia, being reminded of what they can’t remember can cause fear and anxiety, “What else don’t I know?”

“Re-directing” can alleviate fear, for example by focusing on what is remembered, say, the special relationship with a person. But, it is important to not try to convince someone that they are wrong, or did know that particular thing they’ve forgotten.

When I showed my mom her wedding picture, she knew herself, but when asked about the person with her she responded, “Must have been the guy I was dating!” “Well, Mom,” I said, “You really got dressed up for that date!”

It’s good to keep a sense of humor with these things…

Submitted by Maryellen Glackin

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