In One Word: What Has Dementia Taught You?

Theft. Fear.
Two deaths to deal with, first mental and then physical.
These words may be some of the many that come to mind when you see a question like the one I asked our Dementia Care Facebook community: In one word, what has dementia taught you?
We received answers that spoke of dementia as a thief that steals the person away from the inside out, of caregivers that now have the disease themselves, even of apologizing to spouses now while the person can remember to, just in case. All this is true of the devastating effect Alzheimer’s and related dementias have on entire families.
Yet the word that came up the most often was perhaps just as insightful: Patience.
Some expanded on this theme:
  • “Patience, joy, love, and hope. It is possible to thrive at any stage. I am so honored to work with people who have dementia, and be a daughter of someone with dementia.”
  • “Better patience, more compassion, and a greater understanding.”
  • “To take care of myself also so I can be the best I can be to have patience, love and understanding. “
  • “Taking it upon myself to educate myself what the person is going through so I can understand and therefore love and be patient.“
  • “Can’t do this in one word! Love, compassion, patience, respect, creativity, and the ability to stop and realize this is their world, make it happen. Whether that be dancing singing or reminiscing. Mom always said respect your elders! Sometimes you have to slow down and set your phone aside and go with it! God only knows where they will take you; you might be surprised.”
Other responses explored a few different themes:
  • “They may forget who you are but will never forget how you make them feel, my mum is in the final stages and still rolls her eyes when she sees me. Never forget who they are.”
  • “Frustration--watching my mom slowly disappear & become someone I don't even know who is full of anger & hatred. (It's the disease, not her, I know.) Patience--as I have to remind myself my mom is still in there somewhere. And to remember it's the disease & not her. Love--I love my mom & cherish all the great memories & moments still to come. Determination--to do all I can to research dementia/Alzheimer's and prevent it for myself & my kids & future grandkids.”
  • “My Mom has dementia but we have the best time together, she knows who I am, we have coffee together and we LAUGH a lot!! I love her now more than ever!”
  • “Never never never take one day for granted. Count your blessings each and every day.”
This is why we here at Dementia Care Specialists are working to ensure the best quality of life for your loved ones and clients. This is why we all need to work together to create a Dementia Capable Society to support our loved ones, ourselves, and those who come after us.
What has dementia taught you? Answer here or join the Facebook discussion.

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