Unconditional love and determination
Dementia is a very irritating thing when it enters your personal life. There are the endless questions, the low self esteem, the feeling of inadequacy, the irritability, the confusion, the inability to live life at a normal pace ....... If you are living with dementia, in whatever form, you will know exactly what I'm talking about, if not then I hope you're getting the picture just from reading this blog. To get through it all takes an inordinate amount of patience, planning, strategies (which I seem to be mentioning a lot recently) but most of all love. I really don't think anyone can do this without feeling unconditional love towards the person with dementia. If you don't have that how do you cope with the decision making, the responsibility, the organisation of everything in your lives, the lack of back up when you're feeling low, the keeping one step ahead just to keep things on an even keel? Unconditional love helps you do all of that. You do however also need determination and in great spades. I floundered for a long time before the diagnosis and for a few months afterwards but got to the point where I felt there must be a better way. I wanted fun in my life again, I wanted to enjoy being with Ash, I wanted a social life, I wanted so much of our old life back that it became my driving force. When a friend who was going through something similar (but much further down the line) gave me the strategies he'd learnt from Contented Dementia I decided I had nothing to lose but so much to gain. I am so grateful to him for starting me on this path as life changed almost overnight and now, seven months later, our pre-Contented Dementia life is unrecognisable from what we have now. Today we went to a coffee morning in the village. They are held every couple of months and the two we've been to have been nice and we were surrounded by friends but Ash left after around 20 minutes. Today he stayed the whole 2 hours and even joined in the conversations. He struggled a little sometimes as we were in a large group which he doesn't cope with well but we've come a long way from the times where he would either sit in a corner completely silent or not even come at all. I'm ok going to things on my own but it's so much nicer if I have him to share it all with especially as he's regained his sense of humour (and there was a time I thought that had gone for ever).