Regaining Control Over Dementia and Alzheimer's

Leah Health Guide
  • I am getting tired of having dementia… I’m ready to give it back so that I can regain my old self.

    Have you ever felt that way?  You may not have dementia.  Arthritis, poor eyesight, or any other health problem may be your bane.  Are you tired of being the way you are?

    Get moving.  I forget myself when I get involved with other activities.  It was like that yesterday.  I had a volunteer luncheon to attend.  Being a member of the Board for the Cooperative Ministry on Aging, I was actively involved with preparing for the luncheon, greeting people, handling minor problems like the dancers needing a room in which to dress and an extra table needing to be put up.  NOT ONCE did I think about having dementia!  NOT ONCE did I feel “tired” of being in the condition I am in.  NOT ONCE did I feel sorry about my limitations.  Why?

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    I was being useful, productive.  I was working with other adults in a social situation.  I was putting to use all the skills I still have.  And I was happy!

    To go back into my history for a moment:  Four years ago my doctors recommended that I work as long as I could.  They said that, generally,  people who continued to work as long as they could did better health wise and usually lived longer.  I found it hard to continue teaching when I couldn’t remember any of the children’s names.  Once found out, I was sure that it would not cement confidence in me by the children or their parents.  Besides that, so much of teaching involves relating names to students.  One cannot teach in a bubble.  I had to retire; being basically forced to do so wasn’t the best way to stop doing something I loved so much.

    And now, back to the present and my lament of being tired of having dementia.  Everyday I waffle between feeling down about having dementia and being “up” during moments of activity.  Anti-depressants can only help so much.  A better solution to improving the mood is to get moving.  It might be planting a pot of flowers or watering the ones already planted.  Maybe it is going to a meeting and being an active member.  Perhaps it is preparing a meal…or just a particular dish.  Even doing the laundry or caring for the cat and/or dog can help lighten one’s mood and help one forget one’s limitations for awhile. 

    My thought is that if I was allowed to just sit all day that my condition would worsen quite quickly.  If you are suffering from dementia, get moving.  You don’t have to work all day…just keep doing something. Get involved with local volunteerism.  Going outside ones self helps one to gain even more confidence.  Going outside of your comfort level empowers you.   If you are a caregiver, encourage your loved one to participate in everyday life.  If he/she is able, have him/her help prepare dinner or set the table.  Send him/her out to water the flowers…or to pick some and make a floral arrangement.  Take him/her to the local senior center; encourage participation in the exercise classes and other instructional activities.  Help him/her to stay in touch with old friends.  Have younger family members come to visit often.  Ask for opinions from the loved one to show you still value what he/she has to say.

  • Hmmm, all this talk about going outside one’s comfort level gives me an idea…maybe I’ll try the zip line next time we go on a cruise to the Caribbean…I can just envision myself flying from tree to tree over the rain forest below…hmm…maybe I’m not feeling so tired after all!

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Published On: May 19, 2009