Thursday, 22 May 2014

Some people with dementia do just fade away peacefully

In this dementia awareness week, I feel it's important to try to make sure that people have a balanced view about the effects of dementia.  I spend a lot of time reading heart-rending accounts of the real suffering of people with dementia and their carers and the final part of the dementia journey is often a dreadful experience for them.

Without denying their experience, I want to share a little information about my mum's journey to show that some people with dementia do remain contented in the 'end of life' stage and die peacefully.

This photo was taken just after my mum's 90th birthday:

She died 3 months later (AD on the death certificate). At that point she had been bed-ridden for getting on for 2 years. We saw her a few days before she died.  She was still smiling.  Her later years were spent in a Methodist Home for the Aged. Although they didn't normally look after people with advanced dementia, they were happy for her to see out her days in their care because she had contributed so much, always helping new residents to settle in, for example. They looked after her very well. She died peacefully.

She was, comparatively, lucky. So were we.

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