VIDEO + ARTICLE:
Is it possible to live well with dementia? Yes. Is it possible to live well with dementia every
day? No, not in my opinion, but that’s my opinion. Having lived with Alzheimer’s for the
last two years, if I’ve learned anything, it’s to be honest with myself.
If I’m having a bad day,
it’s no good pretending everything is fine. It’s more productive to admit it’s a tough day and
look at ways to make it better.
So what does living well with dementia look like? I guess different people have different
ideas as to what constitutes living well. For me, it’s about finding peace and contentment,
and having fun. These can be very hard, especially when your brain doesn’t want to cooperate,
and if the world feels like a very scary place, which it does some days. The text
books say ‘find ways to relax’ – all good advice until you trip down the stairs because your
‘spatial awareness’ is playing havoc with your balance. It’s not that easy relaxing when
you’re in a heap on the hall floor – but hey! When the initial shock has worn off, and my
pride has recovered, I can laugh at how funny it must have looked. So this is a good coping
strategy and a key for me to live well with dementia – to be able to laugh especially at one’s
self. Yes, it is frustrating when you can’t do simple tasks and forgetting things becomes a
way of life, but dwelling on the things you can’t do only serves to disempower you and
anyone living with dementia knows that’s the last thing you want.
Joy shares her experience with Dementia-Friendly Support Groups in the following video:
- Dementia, January 2016 vol. 15 no. 1 4-5