Dementia Part 3
by Bruce Cooper
Published on April 20, 2024
Categories: Aging | Health & Fitness

Dementia

Part 3

Continued from Dementia Part 1 and Part 2

“In spite of the difficulty that the increased confusion presents, focusing on the freedoms and abilities that are still possessed has a tendency to offset the negative aspects of the increased confusion so that it is not over emphasized. We still have a lot of blessings that we are thankful for and frequently experience bouts of shared laughter, which is good medicine for all concerned.”

Period of Day Factors
Be aware of how specific times of the day factor into general confusion. Evenings, just before bedtime, sometimes as in infrequently, intensify confusion for my wife. Be ready for it, be patient and don’t let a good day be spoiled by our own overreaction when we (the caregiver) are tired.

Overview
When I try to place myself in my wife’s shoes, it is not hard to imagine how alarming and difficult it is to lose one’s reference point memories progressively. My own inability to appreciate all the various implications of necessity turned me to God, for His guidance and wisdom throughout the whole of this walk. There are also many hidden gifts presented along the way and these “gifts” are of God’s grace. More compassion and a deeper love for our loved ones and confidence in God’s daily provisions are also realities. One day at a time, with God’s grace lifts both of us.

Laughter
Laughter is good medicine. Focus on the positive memories that are still available and reinforce the many blessings that are still intact. Dementia can be slowly progressive and in many instances the changes can be accommodated by awareness and thoughtfulness.

Memory Aides
At my recommendation, my wife keeps a small book or notepad available to write down thoughts she may want to have addressed when they cross her mind at the time, as these thoughts or issues may not always be available to recollect later. It can also contain a brief overview of close family members who have passed on, as these memories may disappear over time. Having a ready reference to confirm they have passed on or are still with us will help to avoid unnecessary dismay and re-establish memories that she still can retain. Be gentle and always willing to respond to any questions she may ask of you concerning events that have taken place in the past.

Constant Trusted Resource
I have explained to my wife that I am a memory resource that she can use whenever it is required and that she can trust me as a resource and that I am always willing to be of assistance. This has proven to be a reassuring and comforting reality for her. Reinforce this memory resource availability often and it can and will become normal to her. Learning to adapt applies to both of us.

Awareness of the Norm
Some days are almost normal and once in a while, she may be partially overwhelmed by memories that are confused or gone. The important thing is for the caregiver not to overreact and to accept the changes that surface at times. Most times these changes are minor in frequency and outside of the normal slow progression. At least this is so in our particular situation. Putting yourself as a caregiver in her shoes helps our own minds, as caregivers to adapt.

Other Changes
Food preferences may change, accommodate these changes if and when possible. Personal preference characteristics may also change about picture placements or furniture positions. Go with the flow and accommodate when feasible. In the big scheme of things, her level of satisfaction and contentment is of greater importance. If the “good days” are reinforced, the positive effects of these good days will outweigh and diminish the effects of the bad over time. Reinforce the little accomplishments of each day so that the gains are not forgotten. Currently, the good days far outnumber the bad days. Both of us need to be mindful of this reality. God’s steadfast grace is a wonderful gift to behold.

Continued

Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!

Bruce Cooper is a disciple of Jesus, married to Peggy, with 5 grown up children, 7 grandchildren. He is retired from the Canadian Armed Forces and resides in beautiful Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. a.k.a. “Papa.” To read more of Bruce’s work visit Reasoned Cases For Christ.

1 Comment

  1. Robert Arthur Marzullo

    Thanks for sharing these insights with us Bruce.

    Reply

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