What Dementia Can Teach Us

By February 18, 2015Dementia

There are countless studies on dementia and all the various forms of it, that no one ever really sits back and realizes what this disease can teach us. We spend all of our time figuring out how to stop it, that we never realize how powerful the mind is. We only notice the degradation. A person with dementia is just that: a person. They’re still mind, body, and spirit. In fact, a person with dementia can teach us a lot about ourselves.

Have you ever been assigned a task that seems so impossible that the thought of giving up right at the start enters your mind? Of course, we all have. Giving up is one of the easiest decisions to make. We can come up with a million and one excuses as to why we should stop, yet we can’t think of one good reason as to keep going.

A person with dementia faces many tough challenges. It might be something such as getting out of bed in the morning or bathing by themselves, but strength isn’t measured by the amount of difficulty in the task. It’s measured by the amount of perseverance in the person completing the task. Dementia can teach us about true strength. No matter how difficult the task may seem, there are always ways to overcome and achieve your desired result.

The human brain is an incredible organ. It controls everything in your body. If you’re trying to pick up a glass of water, it sends signals to every part of the body and within milliseconds the body responds. It’s one of those things that’s so unbelievable we take it for grant it. We’ve all had those moments where we lose our train of thought or can’t quite place a finger on the word we’re looking for, but we can always recognize loved ones. We can always close friends when we see their faces.

The brain makes those connections for us, because they’re so familiar. Unfortunately, those in late stages of dementia don’t get that luxury. It destroys those connections the brain makes. What seemed so simple is now a difficult task. It’s something we take for grant it everyday. Our loved ones provide comfort for us and bring us that feeling of familiarity. It’s a great feeling walking into a new space and recognizing faces. Could you imagine a world where everyone is foreign? A person in the late stages of dementia must deal with it everyday.

The Little Things
Sometimes, a warm conversation with a stranger is enough to brighten our day. Sometimes, just listening to a story from a stranger is enough to brighten theirs. Whatever it may be, people with dementia enjoy the attention they receive. They’re thrilled to have someone come and hold their hand as they relive past memories, talk about relatives, and genuinely appreciate the comfort of being heard.

Contact and communication are two overlooked aspects of life. There’s nothing better than a gentle embrace from a close friend or relative, coupled with engaging conversation shared by both parties. However, not everyone receives that gratification. Could you imagine a world where you don’t get to converse with someone everyday? We need contact with other people, yet sometimes we don’t realize how important it is. Enjoy the small things in life. It’s just one of the many lessons we can all learn from people with dementia.

Image Credit – http://alexanderhh.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/96/2014/08/shutterstock_103402682.jpg

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