My knowledge on Dementia was pretty nonexistent until January of this year. When I started caring for my Elderly uncle who is also a Veteran. I read books and articles about it. Knowing the difference between Alzheimers and Dementia.
From from I understand Alzheimer’s disease affects our long term memory as for Dementia it affects our short term memory. It also has to do with the vascular system. My uncle is a heart patient and has several other health issues going on. Having had a stroke in October of 2018 his memory was greatly affected. His mind regresses back to the 60’s and 80’s. I am not always confident that I am the best person to care for him. But I am the only family to speak of and he appointed me his beneficiary and Power of attorney in 2011. When my dad (his brother past). That is a whole other blog I will share at a later time.
Before my uncle’s recent stroke he had a heart attack years ago that ended up with him having a defibrillator placed in. He has shown signs of memory loss since then. Little things like what days I or my husband work. Nothing to serious but I never knew those were signs of alzheimer’s or Dementia. According to pamphlets provided by his neurologist, a way of helping a patient with gain some of their memory back or helping avoid this disease is by reading, cross word puzzles really any activity that stimulates the brain.
Ever since I can remember he has always read books he enjoyed novels and would read everyday he also had a cross word puzzle by his night stand and would work in it everyday as well. His mathematical skills were and still are very strong. He was always very independent and cared for himself until recently. Now he ca not remember where the bathroom is, if he ate or not or if its morning or night time. What really brought tears to my eyes is when we were talking about his family and when I asked him about his children. He didn’t remember that his only son had died in a roll over car accident in the late 80’s I was in second grade at the time. He said he had never heard back from his son so he didn’t know anything about him. My heart felt heavy and I was in no way going to bring up what I remembered and knew about his son.
For me and I’m sure many others this disease is scary when we hear about it for the first time. I grew angry the more I realized that it was robbing my uncle of his life and me, of my uncle I’ve always known to strong and positive. I understand it’s a part of life as many thing are. Not so much if a person takes care of their health most of their lives. It can hit anyone healthy or not.
I appreciate and enjoy listening or reading about other’s personal experiences and thoughts on Dementia. They help me with my current journey.