Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Living a Full Life with Dementia

Even with dementia, I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be. I know that my life is still full of purpose. I love meeting with or emailing friends. I find many opportunities to volunteer my time. In fact, every day promises a new adventure or acquisition of a new-found treasure...

The other day, I discovered a "new" vacuum cleaner in the corner of my dining room. It probably had been left there by my husband or house keeper. I did not remember ever having seen it before. Later that evening as my husband and I were sharing our day with one another, I told him about using the vacuum cleaner. I asked him where it had come from, that it worked very well. He replied that we had had it for over three years. I wasn't real surprised since lately I have a hard time recognizing lots of things around the house.

Mentioning a housekeeper makes it sound like we are rich. Monetarily that is not the case. Actually, this wonderful lady comes for only four hours every two weeks - just enough to keep the public portions of our home in respectable condition. Having her come has become a necessity because, now that I have dementia, I don't seem to care about the mess. The condition of the house just doesn't seem to exist to me, which is very strange. I remember I used to see and care about how the house looked. Now that I am retired, you would think I have all the time in the world to clean house. What has brought this change about? How can dementia do this to me?

Dementia has also brought about some positive changes in me. At this point in my condition, I am usually far less inhibited and much more approachable.

I greet people I haven't seen in years like they are a long lost best friend. This reaction surprises even me, because I used to be very private and reluctant to say anything in fear of not being remembered by that person. Now that doesn't matter. I just introduce myself, explaining if I need to as to how we knew one another. Thankfully, I have been graciously greeted up to this point.

Yesterday, I met a distant relative at Wal-Mart. She is a widow with grown children and grandchildren. We ended up having lunch together at the McDonald's inside the store. Years ago, I would have given her a cursory hello at best and moved on. Instead, I was able to visit for an hour, catching up on family history and providing her some company during a lonely afternoon.

I have so many more adventures and treasures ahead of me. As I said in my opening, I am exactly where I am meant to be! It is not necessarily the life I had envisioned, but what life is? This one will do just fine.

By Leah


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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