People who work in dementia care often are asked a lot of different questions by family members and loved ones of those living with dementia. Considering that we are often on the ‘frontline’ when it comes to dementia care, the question that we are often asked is “Are you afraid of getting dementia yourself when you get older?”
The truth is that honestly, while dementia is a horrible set of diseases, there are still many beautiful things that people can experience when living with dementia. If I DO ever develop dementia myself, I have come up with a list of different rules that I would like to live by. I call these “my rules for a good life”:
- If I do get dementia and I think that my loved one is still alive, if I believe that I am still close to taking that trip to Hawaii, if I believe that Christmas is right around the corner in June, just let me allow me to believe that; I will be happier for it.
- Just because I have dementia does not mean I am a child, please treat me like the adult that I am.
- Dementia does not mean that I should stop doing things that I love. Help me find a way to visit my friends, get some physical exercise, and help me get out and enjoy life.
- If I get agitated during my time with dementia, please try to figure out why that might be. Do not just assume that I am agitated ‘for nothing’.
- Please treat me the way that you would want to be treated, you would not want to be coddled either.
- Please do not feel guilty about not being able to take care of me 24/7. I understand that there are other things that you need to do – even if I do not show it right away. Help me find a great new place to live or help me find someone who can take care of me if you are unable to.
- If I have dementia, I would really appreciate it if you could have my favorite music playing in the background.
- Just because I have dementia and might be a bit more difficult to deal with, please do not exclude me from family gatherings or parties. I really still enjoy being a part of everything.
- If I do have dementia, please do not forget that I am still the same person underneath. I might act different, I might not realize who you are all the time, but I am still the same person that you love and care about right now.
If you know someone living with dementia, it is important to find the right place to live – a place where dementia is not perceived as a problem or difficulty. Look at the different options found at www.carltonseniorliving.com to see what might be available.