The value of self esteem
Yesterday everything we did with the nearly 5 year old contributed to Ash's self esteem. We needed him to set up zip wires, to tie knots, to get the guttering at the right angle for conkers to roll properly. No-one else can do this like Grumps apparently and he was at an all time best. Chatty, organised, assertive and able to make decisions just like he used to. This morning it was time for lego building. We'd been given a big box of lego and there was a picture buried in the depths of that box which the nearly 5 year old wanted recreating. The difficulty was that the lego hadn't been touched for about 25 years, wasn't in any sort of order and some bits were missing. The nearly 5 year old wanted what was on the picture but, for reasons beyond his control, Ash wasn't able to recreate the scene and the self esteem came crashing down. It happened gradually so to begin with I didn't even notice but then I realised that conversation had stopped, there was no laughter or teasing and everything was quiet. What to do? I discovered a job that needed doing in the garden. It needed a big person and a little one both of whom had to be just the right size. Buckets were needed, as were ropes and some sort of pulley system over a tree branch and within 5 minutes everything was back on track. That's why I said yesterday that strategies are what work when dealing with dementia. Medication can keep symptoms at bay but self esteem and an ability to feel in control are what pay the best dividends. If you are living a life affected by dementia this I think is the most important thing you can remember.