Happy New Year to all in this community who have a loved one living with dementia. My wish for you this year is for inner strength, peace of mind and wisdom.
At the start of a new year, you are perhaps dealing with one of the big difficulties when your loved one has dementia – all the ‘unknowns’. What will this year be like? What will the journey look like? What will the end look like? How long until the end? What adjustments will need to be made in various areas of life? How will I cope with watching them fade away? ….? You fill in the blanks. It’s unknown because every story is completely different.
On my journey, my coping mechanism when it came to this issue, was to be aware of these unbidden ‘what if’ and ‘dread’ thoughts and kind of ‘talk to myself’. I would explain to myself that the future is unknown so it is a waste of my mental energy to focus any time on this type of thinking. Instead, I would focus on the moment and making the most of the present time without looking into the future too far.
Another way to cope is to find a good friend with a good listening ear or a counselor or God if you are a praying person. Share your fears, your dread and your feelings. For me, prayer and talking it through with my husband and friend were invaluable.
They say knowledge is power. Well it certainly is important to be well educated and have an understanding of what’s going on with your loved one. The downside is you can dread what ‘could’ happen and your loved one could have a different outcome. I always dreaded my parents ending up in a bed not being able to move. That didn’t happen for either of them. They passed before that stage.
Be kind to yourself. Be intentional about keeping your mind at peace. Be proud of yourself when you keep on walking this difficult path, and allow yourself a few stumbles and rest points.
I would like to finish with a quote posted on my friends charity FB page that may bring encouragement to someone reading this.