Sunday 12 May 2013

Slowly losing a loved one to the evils of dementia.

Dementia, in its various guises, is an evil affliction. I use the term affliction, as dementia doesn't even have the decency to be a disease in its own right. It is a compendium of other diseases, such as Alzheimer's, cerebral vascular degeneration, strokes, in some cases non-stroke related severe brain trauma, and Lewy Body, that ultimately cause irreparable damage to the brain.

The first signs are often dismissed as forgetfulness due to old age - DANGER! It is at this point that real diagnosis is needed. There is currently no cure, and probably won't be one for the foreseeable future. The main treatments - when diagnosis is ultimately made, often later than should be the case - are aimed at the underlying diseases that cause dementia.

These treatments may delay the stages of dementia - in some cases successfully, in many not. Ultimately, the person we love begins a slow, sometimes incredibly slow, decline, and we begin to lose the person we knew and loved so much.

The worst aspect of dementia is that the person concerned, also knows something is not right. They become agitated, frightened, and in some cases terrified. Neither they, nor we, know what is happening.

Dementia doesn't just affect the person who has it, but everyone else close to them. It is often accompanied by, and indeed caused by, acute diseases such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Hypothyroidism, TIAs (Transient Ischaemic Attacks) etc. All of which contribute to the condition.

My Mum has what is now mid to late stage vascular dementia. Everyday is precious. Some are good, some not so. But, I still love my "little lady" (ickle lady), and will do everything I can for her. Despite the fact that she is no longer able to do many things for herself, and relies on me and her carers to look after her.

She still has a wicked sense of humour, and her carers look forward to their visits, because of her friendly, smiley attitude towards them. Yet, deep down inside, I know that slowly, but surely, my beloved Mum is disappearing, before my very eyes.

If you're in the same situation, treasure every moment you can. Give them the love and security they crave, and above all, treat them with the kindness and respect they deserve.

1 comment:

  1. Well, my Mom has the illness as well. She got moved because she liked to wander outside and didn't want to wear the wanderguard bracelet. I'm glad she is still feisty. I hope your Mom has several good days. My Mom likes our when i play YouTube videos for her. I'm a 53 yr old male in South Dakota. US. write me