There is a quote that I often think about:
“Knowledge is learning something new every day. Wisdom is letting go of something every day.”
I wish, we as a society, could let go of the stigma of brain based issues—whether that is, depression, dementia, and so on. Lately, there has been a lot of dialog in the news about concussions among athletes. I have known a few students who have suffered from massive concussions and they always mention, “no one gets it”. It is as if since the injury is not seen by others (broken bones, cuts, bruising), it doesn’t exist. I often think about that in terms of dementia. We do not visually “see” dementia. Dementia residents do not lose their hair from the drugs the doctor gives them. There is no need for special medical equipment or specially named hospitals—well, not that we have currently—there is a need. Dementia with its over 500 symptoms sits idle and many, many times, misunderstood.
Nothing angers us (caregivers) more than when others comment or joke about our residents. Or, when others act as if they will “catch” something by being around our residents. Our residents are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, someone’s baby, someone’s love….. If you are uncomfortable with dementia or uncomfortable with a person who has dementia, then you need to get over yourself—you need to have the wisdom to LET GO.
The other aspect of the quote says to learn something new everyday, so here is some symptoms of dementia (this might just help someone understand a loved one with dementia or what dementia can look like):
- memory loss, confusion
- trouble finding words, poor thinking skills, poor decision making
- mood swings
- changes in personality
- rummaging and hoarding
- poor hygiene
- sadness and crying
- anxiety and agitation
- wandering and elopement
- poor nutrition and dehydration