For those with vascular dementia…or for that matter, for anyone with the beginning of any form of dementia…it is important to keep HOPE in their life. This is not to say that one should expect a miracle, although praying for one is not out of the question. It is to say that without hope, one just withdraws within and shrivels up. Giving up is one of the biggest deterrents to living a full life.
I have been writing this blog for almost two years now. When I was diagnosed with vascular dementia, I must admit that I went into a downward tailspin for a while. Still being what would be considered a newly wed, I anguished over “what I had gotten my husband into”. I immediately thought that I needed to divorce him so that he wouldn’t have to travel this path with me. But, I was giving him much less credit than he deserved. I have never told him about my thoughts of divorce…I guess he’ll know now when he reads this blog… It was his response that helped me find the hope I needed and the fight that would ensue. I push myself to be the best I can because he believes I can.
How the family reacts to the diagnosis of dementia in a loved one is an important element in how that loved one will fare. I’ve witnessed this in other family members’ reaction and behavior towards me. My brothers are pretty oblivious of my disability; they’ve always seen me as their ditzy sister and have always been supportive. My sister, I believe, didn’t really believe the diagnosis was correct; since the diagnosis, she has seen me have more difficulty with memory and function of life. She provides me with opportunities to do volunteer work. She encourages me to do all that I can, and then she either takes up the slack or limits my activities to what I can handle. She, too, has always been very supportive. My daughter takes my disability in stride and is very proud of what I do and who I am. She has my “business cards” which tout this site and blog and gives them out to anyone she meets who talks about having a loved one with a form of dementia. I believe she is one of my biggest “cheerleaders”. My granddaughter? She’s sixteen and just sees me as Grandma, loving my quirkiness and overlooking my disability. And then, of course, there’s my husband. I’ve written a lot about his support in the past so won’t elaborate here.
What am I trying to say? If you have dementia of any form, you need support and encouragement from your family and friends. You need to avoid the naysayers and those who pity you. There is nothing to be pitied. We are where we are, who we are. Each of us is unique, with unique styles and needs. Seek the company only of those who make your day brighter.
Have you ever heard of the saying: Live well. Laugh often. Love a lot. (It’s something like that.) Well, it’s especially true for US.
Thank you to all my readers who take the time to respond…and to those who do not. I sincerely hope that I help you by giving you a glimpse into my life.
Published On: April 09, 2009