A few weeks ago I undertook some training for a corporate company I work for. As part of the company’s drive to understand all customers, I underwent some dementia training and I became a dementia friend.
This involved understanding the basics of dementia and how I might help someone with dementia and the issues they and their Carer faces.
The best man at my wedding and my ex wife’s family have a history of dementia, so I felt the need to know more about the condition. I realise that it may be a condition that my children stand a good chance of having to deal with in future years. Whilst not a part of old age, it effects one in three people over 65, and with the history of it in my ex wife’s family, my children and I are likely to have to understand its symptoms someday.
In talking to the tutor, one of the issues facing society now and more so in the near future is how we deal with dementia. If my ex wife suffered from the condition – it is plausible she will forget about our divorce. In fact, imagine remarrying and your new partner was to get dementia and not recognize anything about you, your relationship or even their own children, possibly still thinking they were married still to their first partner! Dementia is not simply about losing your memory; it can affect thinking, communicating and undertaking everyday tasks. All of these lapses add enormous amounts of pressure to friends and family.
The issues that this condition can bring to a family and its members are great and I like many other fathers worry about the future for our children. If I got dementia or failed to recognize my own children, I couldn’t’t express my love for them – though I would not know about it – I worry about the effect it might have on their future. I hope that by being aware of dementia and recognizing how to help people with the condition I can take away some of my own fears. As my children get older I can openly discuss it, I can try to understand how they might feel and cope if their mother developed dementia. If she could only remember the time when we were married – how would I handle it? How would I work with my children to ensure they can manage the situation as well as possible? There is more to a person than the dementia, and it is possible to live well with dementia. I want my children to know that dementia is not a natural part of ageing, but is caused by a disease of the brain and effects people in so many different ways. Whilst Alzheimer’s is the most common, it is not the only form and each person is effected differently.
As a society we are living longer and the instances of dementia will undoubtedly increase in the future. We will soon all be in a situation where we know someone who is affected. I have taken steps to try and learn more and hope to chat to my children about the condition as they grow older. My parents and step father are fast approach 70, statistics show that one of them will get dementia to some degree… as their child – how will I handle that? Care for them personally or offload them to a care home? How would my children cope in the future should I get dementia….. I don’t know the answer …. I hope that both of them and I will be able to cope, care and understand.
‘til next week,
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the blogger and do not necessarily represent the views of Dad.info.