Whenever anyone talks about growing older sooner or later the conversation often turns to dementia. It is the disease that fills most of us with fear and dread. The thought of losing ‘our marbles’ leaves many of us with a sense that our future quality of life and dignity will be lost.
But what is dementia? Dementia is an umbrella term that covers many conditions, the condition most people associate as dementia is Alzheimer’s, however there are other forms of dementia, hence early diagnosis is essential to ensure that appropriate and meaningful measures can be put in place.
When people think of dementia they think of the progressive loss of short term memory, the repeated questioning and the lack of recognition, which often leaves everyone feeling frustrated and loved ones with patience stretched to the limits. However the key to helping the person is to recognise that they are not doing this on purpose, they can know that their memory is failing them and that at any given time they can be very aware. Hence they are capable of enjoying that moment, even though seconds later the memory of the event and also the memory of the joy and happiness can be lost. That is why it is so important to look at the person and not be bogged down by the condition, to think for these few seconds how can I enhance this person’s quality of life, what can I do now that I know they would enjoy and make them happy.
There are many organisations that can help both the person with dementia and their family. Help with information, advice, support, care or just to be at the end of the phone when things are just so overwhelming. The Alzheimer’s Society and Home Instead can help local Shifnal families cope with the day to day of living with dementia. Time is precious, we all need to slow down and enjoy every moment, to relish what we have now and to recognise that for a person with dementia it is the joy in the moment that can make such a big difference.
For more information on the help available in the area ring Sally from Home Instead, 01952 601063.