Aging is a part of life, but it is a part that can be monumentally cruel. While you have a lifetime of memories built behind you, age-related conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s can snatch those memories from you so quickly you barely notice. Living with dementia can be a huge strain, very emotional and so unfair. The people you knew every day are hard to recognise. The usual routines that made your life feel meaningful seem to go foggy, making you forget.
From the point of view of a person with dementia, their reality is the one that is true. For everyone else? They have to have the heart-breaking experience of seeing you struggle and change. You may not recognise them and you could have spent years being independent and secure, and all of that is pulled out from under you in a moment. When you are in the early stages of dementia, it’s smart to appoint Court of Protection solicitors to give a trusted relative power of attorney and over your medical decisions and wellbeing. Relinquishing this sort of control is not the easiest decision to make but it is one that could be vital to your continued health.
The personal relationships and social environment for someone with dementia is vital to life, even more so than someone who doesn’t suffer from such a debilitating disease. Your carers, friends and family are there to help you feel supported and less lonely. The things that you lose as a result of dementia are not just your memory. Your self-esteem can take a hit, as well as your confidence and independence. Putting the right care and support in place before the dementia takes hold is the way to help yourself and help those who have to care for you.
As your condition progresses, you may not be able to cope with the diagnoses. Knowing that your mind is starting to fail you when it has been in top condition all your life can invoke feelings of anger and stress. This can result in outbursts and upset and this is understandable. Getting the right advice and help to accept the condition can ease the worry of what is to come. Acceptance will come after a range of other emotions, as it will come after you have a firm idea of what strain of dementia you have.
What can help, is keeping journals and diaries to help you record your life. The small, day to day activities that you write down can help you to identify your usual routines and patterns and keep you moving forward. Each of the entries in the diary can remind you of your next step. Write down instructions to yourself and to your loved ones as your memory allows you. Dementia is a thief in the night – your identity, your lifestyle and your memories all get stolen away by it. All you can do is put things in place to help you to keep putting one foot in front of the other.