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the D word and no its not death this time, its dementia

April 16, 2015

DSCN1651for some people, in their intellectual minds, the association with the word dementia, is with a sort of death, from my experience, or others, there is a certain denial, another D word, like a person is choosing to be this way. my experience with many family members who have loved ones who are going down this road.

I, personally have thought this in my past.  as I continue to have experiences and relationships with people who do have dementia, my ideas have changed.

ok, we are all individuals and people experience people according their own stuff mostly. if one can get out of the way of the stuff and just be with a person, it can change everything.

I have had so many “golden moments” with people with dementia.

I have a new theory, kinda developed by all of my experiences and a current experience with a person and his spouse.

they are angels, both, I think.  they have been married for a long long time.  she says he is not the man she knew, but he is an angel.  is his behavior angelic all the time? no. he can be resistant to care and strike out. she believes it is because he is frustrated and cant understand what is being asked of him. she is very patient. she does not push, she does not show anything but kindness, and at times exhaustion, because she is. he gets up and wanders around and she ensures his safety and guides him gently by the hand. she plays soft music for him. she reads to him sometimes.

he speaks many languages in this time. he has spoken finn and English and now speaks both interchangeably in between words that seem like gibberish. he smiles a lot, in response to smiles.

when I am with him and others of his kind, I feel like I am with a toddler.  and so I adjust my behavior and language accordingly.  I stoop down so I am at eye level, I speak in simple language, I smile, and I watch for body language, facial expressions, and other cues. sometimes I pat his back and he pats mine. he likes touch and tries to hold the hand of his spouse often, and responds to gentle touch and language.

the other day, I was stooping down after speaking with his spouse,  and observed his eyes closed. I spoke to him and asked him if he was sleeping. he opened his eyes looked at me and said “not sleeping. listening”.

and somehow I believe him more, as he spoke it, than many people who have appeared to be more lucid ie not demented, and have said the same thing to me, in the same situation.



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