Feelings about Dementia


It is difficult if not impossible, to talk to Mom about her condition. For one thing, it is not openly acknowledged that there is a problem at all. We all carry on as though everything is just as it should be. So I am grateful for Dementia Daycare and the periodic medical appointments – in some ways, these affirm to us that we are doing the best we can, and not completely in denial!

At the last medical appointment, when the nurse ran the depression checklist on Mom, I sat at a distance and listened in. Mom’s answers were a bit surprising and enlightening. To most of the questions, she gave stock answers, for example confirming that life is worth living, and she does not feel worthless. But when she was asked if she felt unluckier than most, Mom hesitated, then said, “Of course, the young are luckier.” The nurse wanted a Yes/No answer, so in the end Mom said, “We should not compare. It is not the same after all.” And so No, she does not feel unlucky.

So there it is.

There is a lot more going on under the surface than meets the eye. I believe Mom is very stoic and does not want to cause us trouble. But there’s more we can do to help her fit in, and to make everyday count. Let me give it some thought.

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11 thoughts on “Feelings about Dementia”

  1. I too love the admonishment, suggestion: We should not compare. Don’t we always make comparisons about many aspects of our lives? I think that is the norm – not that it’s right – it’s just the norm unfortunately. I guess the goal might be that if we do compare, we should not feel the need to “measure up” or make changes to ourselves, or our lives, that aren’t the right fit.

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  2. I have not had experience with dementia with my mother. However, I DO believe, a person cannot help but try to keep up appearances. There’s something in the humans, for as long as we can, to not be a burden, to try to be as normal as possible.

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    1. I believe keeping up appearances is related to one’s feelings of self esteem. One tries to project an image befitting of the value placed on the self. Not everyone tries not to be a burden.

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  3. enjoy your thoughts….I am a caregiver of my mom, she has Alzheimer’s….such a horrible disease….she’s lived a good long life, but it’s the now I wish for her….fading memories is so troubling for her….thanks for writing your words.

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