Maybe your instincts began to whisper something was happening when your spouse asked you for directions while on a trip the two of you had taken dozens of times through the years. The forgotten appointments, misplaced keys, and increasing confusion of the last few months suddenly took on a different meaning, and signposts pointing to worries you dared not speak out loud could no longer be ignored. You sensed his fear as well, and frustration, too, at the unexplained difficulty with formerly routine tasks. You could both see shadows rushing in to obscure a shared vision of active retirement together. What should be done?
Dare to Hope
Minimizing or ignoring early warning signs is a natural response to facing the possibility of a dementia diagnosis. One need not have prior experience with dementia to grasp its potential for total disruption of plans carefully crafted through the years. However, speaking with your primary care physician about symptoms when they arise allows you and your family to begin implementing lifestyle changes while everyone is most able to do so in the event of a dementia diagnosis. This first step must be taken in courage born of the hope that life’s riches can still be enjoyed following a dementia diagnosis.
Community Holds the Key
Even the most dynamic caregiver cannot be all things to a partner diagnosed with dementia. The emotional burden of the loss, the practical difficulties of following treatment protocols, and the ordinary needs of day-to-day life coalesce into a trial no one should try to face alone. Fortunately, communities have formed to envelop families and patients with the light cast by a servant’s spirit. The path has been travelled by many and support can be found in groups specifically designed with your needs in mind.
Human Dignity Remains
The most visionary professionals serving dementia patients and their families never lose sight of the essential humanity which no affliction can erase. Although these diseases hold the power to alter a person’s mental function, the essence of the person remains. While skilled counselors are available to offer therapy through the inevitable grief, they can also train patients and caregivers to focus on relating to one another through emotions experienced moment to moment which carry-over even when memory of their specific inspiration fades. Furthermore, care professionals appointed to assist with daily needs can increase a sense of self-fulfillment by focusing on tasks a patient can complete in caring for themselves while offering loving support to the patient’s family. Finally, licensed pharmacists can oversee the implementation of a physician’s treatment plan through medication management in order to achieve the envisioned results while freeing the family’s time from the technical logistics involved.
To learn more about a holistic approach to living with dementia, call the
360˚ Dementia Wellness Program Team at:
|Always Best Care
|Silver Linings for Seniors