“The word ambiguous helped me understand what was going on. I’m still married to her, I love her but I don’t live with her. I’ve always been crazy about her and still am. She’s still looked after, but it is a huge loss for me. The ambiguity is exactly how I feel” - a male caregiver
“I thought this was a normal part of Alzheimer’s” – Glenda, Alzheimer Society client & caregiver for her husband One of the greatest misconceptions about old age is that the older you get the more confused you will become. Although your brain does age with the rest of your body, states such as severe confusion are not a part of healthy aging and should be further investigated and treated. Delirium and dementia are two causes of confusion in older adults
There has been a lot of media attention about Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias lately. It goes to show just how many million lives dementia touches. It also goes to show that slowly, dementia is being talked about openly. While campaigns from local and regional Alzheimer Societies have helped bring dementia into the spotlight, to truly help people living with dementia get the care and support they are entitled to, we need a response from the collective society.
I have been a law abiding citizen for all of my life- well, give or take a speeding ticket. I respect police officers and appreciate their work in helping to keep our streets safe. Therefore, it was a strange experience to be sitting in the front seat of our care being questioned by a policeman about my recent disturbance in a computer store. It never was suppose to happen like it did.
When I say I have dementia, there is usually a stigmatized response: "Gee you don't look sick." "You are too young to have dementia." "I'm not good at math either." "Everyone gets forgetful. What I find surprising is that some of these stigmatized responses come from people who know me, have direct contact with me and are recipients of my advocacy work. It is as if they don't believe I have a disease that has no cure and ultimately will die from. One such person said that I "...can walk and talk so I'm fine."
I am emerging from a week long “FTD funk.” This is what I have termed as a Frontotemporal Lobe Dementia (FTD) induced mental fog. Symptoms of this disease such as lack of motivation, apathy, irritability, forgetfulness, poor decision making and difficulty in word finding descended upon me and warped my clear thinking – just like fog. While in this fog, I realized what was happening. It is hard to describe it to someone who has not experienced it. I reached out to to a new friend who has dementia. In my email, I described to her my frustration with this fog. It was interesting, because just by writing to her, I felt a bit better. Her response with words of wisdom and an offer to be a sounding board helped in clearing my head. This once again has reminded me of the importance of friends – young or elderly, new or old. When I was first diagnosed, my sister told me how I would meet new people who would help me in my journey. The wisdom of my older sister has proven true.
The smell of urine has not left me. Yesterday, Dawn made arrangements for us to visit a long-term care facility. At 2:00 p.m. we arrived. It a nice looking building. I sat on an outside bench trying to absorb what we were about to do. We were here to have a tour looking to access if this could be a suitable place for me to one day live at. It started last week, when my case worker from CCAC gave me the necessary paperwork to fill out for submitting my preferences for long-term care. Having Frontotemporal Lobe Dementia (FTD), I will eventually require a great deal of care. It is our hope that I will always remain in our home. We will hire necessary workers to assist Dawn. Our home will be modified to accommodate my changing needs: bathroom renovations, wheelchair ramp, stair lift, etc.
The long-awaited summertime season finally here. With it comes the anticipation of family trips, excursions with friends and (hopefully) plenty of time for sightseeing. For many individuals caring for someone with dementia however, vacations may seem out of the question as unfamiliar surroundings can trigger negative and even aggressive behaviours in the family member with the disease. Here are some suggestions for those traveling with someone with dementia, particularly if they are in the earlier stages, so that you can still enjoy all your summer travel plans with minimized stress.
The most important decision since diagnosis was joining the Alzheimer Society. The information and support have been amazing”- Alzheimer Society London and Middlesex client. Learning of a dementia diagnosis can be frightening and life altering. Caring for someone with dementia is physically and mentally exhausting. In either situation the fear, anger, frustration and isolation are just a few of the wide range of emotions you can experience. However the struggles you face are the same struggles others in similar circumstances deal with too.
I have insomnia. I was sleeping for a bit, but then woke up. As I lay in bed, I began to think about the day I had. I know I have to write about two extraordinary events. To set the tone of the day, I need you for you to think of Louis Armstrong's song, “What a wonderful world.” To help with your humming, here are the first few lines of this beautiful song: “I see trees of green........ red roses too I see em bloom..... for me and for you And I think to myself.... what a wonderful world.”