Do people who have dementia change ? YES, ! BUT Do they REALLY CHANGE THAT MUCH ????
This is a question i have been asking myself for a while now. I myself , as you know was diagnosed with dementia eight years ago and lately wrote the poem
I JUST WANT TO BE ME AGAIN (At the bottom of this post)
I have many questions about this. We know that in most cases dementia is a short term memory loss disease and in the latter stages they find it hard to remember names and faces of the closest of family members, but if we keep in mind the SHORT TERM memory loss part of it in mind, that only encompasses a small part of their life. An example is, they cannot remember what they recently had for supper, or what they may have done yesterday, the day before or even ten years before, but if they are 80 years old, that is only a small part of their life they cant remember and they have so many memories of many years they can remember !!
They have so much to discuss, so much to talk about and so much to do.
As you know, at the Global Purple Angel Dementia awareness campaign is "INCLUSION AND ENGAGEMENT AT ALL TIMES " and when this is upheld when communicating with those with dementia there is an absolute wealth of experience we can listen to, share and sit, absolutely amazed at what they tell us, which, as an added bonus, can be shared with our children and grandchildren so they themselves can see far past the illness and see the person they were before dementia came along.
" MEMORIES ARE THERE TO BE SHARED"
Yes, it's great to share memories, but what about the physical side of it ?? Now I dont mean anything too much for obvious reasons, but in care homes there are many people who are prone to wandering, or those that have just got into that routine of coming down, sitting down and looking at four walls when there are so many other things that they can do!!
INCLUSION means just that !! Its not all about sitting there chatting to them all day, goodness knows the care staff are busy enough and even though I am sure lots would love to do this, but I just know they are so busy and understaffed that sometimes this is not possible. But what about asking them to do what they used to do ? How about asking them to help tidying the magazine rack, the bookshelves, maybe a little polishing, and dusting, how about suggestiong helping (With supervision) in the kitchen ?? Just because they have dementia doesn't mean they cant beat an egg, dry a plate, mix a bowl of flour ?? This applies to both sexes and there are plenty, including myself, who loved to cook!!
Gardening, ok, I mean seeding and potting on, maybe a little raking and tidying up, but the POINT IS they are active again, they are doing things they have ALWAYS done, and just because they have lost a few years of memories doesn't mean they have become completely immobile in some cases and cant remember what they did in their youth.
As a person with this awful disease, my advice would be be please dont wrap those up in cotton wool that dont need it and let them live their lives to the very best of their ability.
I hope this helps, please share, and thank you ALL for EVERYTHING you do
Norrms and family xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx