So what does it feel like to have dementia? Firstly, what is it, a condition that might make you think of forgotten keys and misplaced glasses, but it’s so much more than that. In this blog, I’ll take a closer look at what it feels like to have dementia, exploring the maze of memories and emotions that come with it.
Imagine your mind is like a jigsaw puzzle, a beautiful masterpiece made up of countless pieces. These pieces are your memories, your experiences, and the moments that have shaped who you are. But now, imagine that some of these pieces start to go missing. It’s like trying to complete a puzzle with holes in it, where parts of your life are fading away. And these pieces are not recoverable.
Living with dementia is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Some days, the sun shines brightly, and you feel like you’re on top of the world. You might remember old stories, the taste of your favourite dish, or the feeling of a warm hug. These moments are like treasures – a chance to connect with who you used to be, to what feels like you.
But then there are days when the clouds gather, and the puzzle pieces seem even more elusive. You might forget names, faces, or even the simplest tasks. It can be frustrating, like searching for your glasses when they’re perched right on your head. These moments can bring feelings of confusion, sadness, and sometimes even fear.
Dementia isn’t just about the person experiencing it. It’s like tossing a pebble into a pond – the ripples touch everyone around you. Family and friends might see you struggle with things that used to come so easily. They might notice the forgotten conversations and the repetition of stories. It’s important to remember that they’re navigating this journey with you, offering support and love every step of the way. And yet they will also feel helpless to stop the condition from progressing and will feel the inch by inch loss of the person they love.
While dementia might alter the landscape of your memories, it doesn’t diminish the value of the present. In fact, it can be a chance to appreciate the beauty of each moment. When you can’t rely on your past experiences, you learn to live in the now. Every smile, every laugh, and every shared moment becomes a tiny triumph.
Tips for Navigating the Journey:
- Create a routine, stablishing a daily routine can help provide a sense of structure and familiarity.
- Stay Connected, engage in social activities and spend time with loved ones. Connection can light up the path in the labyrinth of memories.
- Use Memory Aids, sticky notes, calendars, and reminders can be your trusty companions in keeping track of important tasks. There are also some specialist dementia technology that can help.
- Stay Active, physical and mental exercises can help keep your mind sharp and your spirits high.
- Embrace Patience, be patient with yourself and those around you. It’s okay to ask for help when needed. And know that things will go wrong, so since you are expecting it, it is not such a disaster when it happens.
- Celebrate Small Wins, whether it’s remembering a name or completing a puzzle, celebrate even the tiniest victories. This is a lesson for all of us to celebrate every day, the small wins.
In a world that’s constantly racing, living with dementia invites us to slow down and savour the little moments. It’s like taking a leisurely stroll through a garden, noticing the beauty in each flower and the warmth of the sun on your skin.
Dementia can happen to anyone, it might alter the path, but it doesn’t define the journey. It’s a chapter in a much larger book – a chapter filled with challenges, but also with resilience, love, and a deep appreciation for the present. It will take your community to take care of you, be grateful to them all.