Sunday, 17 March 2013

Is this inevitable?

On an online forum, someone who, along with other family members, is looking after Mum who has dementia, is asking whether it is inevitable that she will cease to recognise them at some stage.

My thoughts are that almost nothing is inevitable, except death - and the person we are caring for might die today, as might we.

I've always been a bit anxious so if I allow myself I can think of any number of horrific scenarios. You don't even need to imagine them these days, you can if you wish read blow-by-blow accounts of carers' experiences in real time.

What we have to try and do is, as people keep repeating, to live in the moment, like so many of the people we're caring for do.

I actually find the thought that everyone is different and everything is unpredictable a consolation.  How would anyone cope if all people with dementia followed exactly the same path, on the same sort of timetable, via a series of known and minutely documented horrors towards their extinction?

And, by the way, it certainly isn't inevitable that Mum will fail to recognise her family.


  1. I have only been a carer for a short while and am new to this blogging game. I visit many dementia ladies and gents and although there are so many levels of dementia, I have found that there is always something in the back of there mind that knows who you are, you just have to find the key to unlock that part of the mind. I have found that songs really work to do this. Also visual images can spark a moment in time bring memories flooding back.

  2. My dad, now age 70, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia several years ago. So far, he still seems to recognize me (though he sometimes gets a little confused), but I'm dreading the day when he no longer does. I try to prompt him when I enter the facility where he lives now, by saying, "Hi, Daddy!" so that he doesn't have to figure out how he knows my face. He's getting less and less verbal, but he was a jazz musician, and I find that we can still communicate through music. Just sitting and singing together is good for both of us. I'm an artist, and have been working on a series of pieces about my dad, dementia, and my own fears that I'll get it. Because of the saying, "an elephant never forgets," the elephant has become a symbol for dementia for me. I've been using elephants, music, and family photos in this series to express what it's like for us as caregivers, and what I'm guessing it's like for him. I thought you might be interested in seeing it.
    Thanks for writing your blog. I'm looking forward to reading more posts.