We journey many paths during the course of a lifetime. We are infants and then we may be a sibling, son, daughter, employee, employer, partner, wife, husband, mother, father, aunt, uncle, grandmother, grandfather . . . . Can you think of more roles? Imagine how many memories we gather in each role we experience.
Dementia begins in forgetting the present and it progresses to remembering so much more.
What is dementia?
Dementia is an umbrella term that describes a range of symptoms that usually begins with a decline in memory and starts to interfere with other thinking skills such as perception, reasoning, judgement, problem solving and language. Dementia causes changes in emotional and behavioral control or personality changes. There are many diseases or conditions that can cause dementia or dementia-like symptoms.
What causes dementia?
Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lewy-Body disease, Pick’s disease, a stroke, vascular disease (problems with blood vessels that impair circulation, thyroid disease, vitamin deficiency to name a few) are some things that can cause dementia. Many are progressive, but some are correctible.
What are the effects of dementia?
We begin to forget if our brain is effected by something that causes dementia. When we talk we don’t just remember words. We focus on words but memories, past and present, continue to include information in all of our senses. As dementia progresses we begin to communicate in ways that involve the senses of seeing, touching, smelling, hearing and tasting.
When do memories start to develop?
We first begin to gather “data” as an infant, and the creation of an emotional understanding of our world starts to develop. We initially learn about the world and people around us through tasting, touching, smelling, hearing and seeing. Then we learn to talk. We begin to interact with our world differently. We gather and communicate information in words and forget that so much of any verbal message is actually contained in tone and body language.
There is an emotionally alert intelligence within all of us.
How does dementia “remember”?
Memories from the past begin to move forward when the ability to remember current events diminishes. And current happenings can be reminiscent of a past experience, expressed in speech, in emotions, and in actions, or behavior. Now experiencing the past becomes the present.
What are a person’s needs when they have dementia? What are the needs of someone who loves or cares for a person with dementia?
Those with dementia may need… (see services).