Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Denial and dementia

It is in our DNA to want to help our loved ones with this disease as it would be any other disease.

I knew four or five years before my diagnosis there was something wrong, very wrong.

Some people however may know this but do not want any knowing it. Even their closet family members.

I remember running squad and knowing that one of the signs of a heart attack is indeed denial.

Most patients we came in contact with, unless they were having a full blown heart attack were indeed in denial.

"Are you having chest pains?"

"Are you having trouble breathing"

"Do you feel faint?"

All of these and other questions are asked to which most reply was, "No, I'm fine"

Well, they were not fine, it was obvious. What it was is that are scared and in denial.

A heart attack to most means that is the closest thing to death they will ever be.

So, you have to assess the patient very carefully cause many times they are telling you what they want you to hear.

The same can go with dementia. You sometimes have to be a sleuth of sorts to get to the truth. Even then you may not.

I was different. I knew there was something wrong, and I would tell anyone who would listen. When you are dealing with someone who is a bit older, they come from a very proud and private generation.

You will never hear them complain. Never hear them talk of their medical issues, and God help you if you ask about their finances.

So...your loved one may have been dealing with dementia for a very long time.

Statistics show that when someone is diagnosed they could have had dementia for up to ten years prior to the diagnosis.

You will know what they want you to know and not a bit more in some cases.

Choose your battles, like we say. You will likely lose them all. And remember to have a plan then have another plan cause your first one likely won't work.

Being a caregiver isn't rocket science. It's much more difficult than that