When I saw this quote, my mind immediately went back to the time when we were dealing with my grandmother’s dementia. It was hard to spot in the early days and when we finally figured out what was going on it became very difficult to deal with it. What was reality in her mind and what we knew to be true conflicted. As a result, we often found ourselves trying to correct her to help her understand the true reality. It was only through research, as well as trial and error, that we soon learned that our need to be right was proving detrimental both ourselves and her.
There is no science to dealing with dementia patients. Often the best way to learn is by interacting with those that have gone through the same situation. Levels of dementia are different and peoples actions and responses are different. However, there is one general consensus. Trying to battle with dementia patients who are saying things that are not true to us and attempting to prove that we are right does no good for either patient or family member. The sooner we realize that what they are saying is real in their world, the easier it becomes to interact with those that we are quickly losing.
When we would visit my grandmother, we really never knew what state she would be in. Sometimes she would be in a different time period where what she was saying was true, just not in the time period where we were living. Other times she would say things that we knew could not possibly be true, but in her mind they were. As we learned to go along with what she was saying and alter our responses to fit her dialogue, the more pleasant our visits became as we learned to live in her reality.
Our need to battle and be right is innate. When we know the truth as individuals, we have this need to ensure that truth prevails and often try and satisfy that self fulfilling need to be right. While that may create conflict in a world where individuals have all their faculties that can be worked through, dementia patients aren’t afforded the ability to understand the truth just because we say it is so.
Dealing with the changes that happen as a result of dementia is a steep learning curve that often requires us to alter course based on a situation. It often involves changing our own personalities and beliefs to accommodate the situation of the day. However, when we learn to deal, it makes for a much more harmonious encounter with family members and allows us to enjoy the days we have left without conflict. In the dementia world, peace over battle becomes a necessity rather than a desire.
Have a great day and remember to be the reason someone smiles.
Mornings with Ron is now available on podcast at https://anchor.fm/morningswithron
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