Reducing the challenges
I may be generalising here but I think I speak for the vast majority when I say that when the diagnosis of 'dementia' in any of it's various forms is delivered we truly think our world has come to an end. If we're very lucky we get support from the outset but mostly we flounder in a new world where it feels as though the ground is forever shifting beneath our feet. Everything we thought we knew about our lives is no longer true and all our plans for the future disappear in front of our very eyes. Then someone comes along who assures us that it's possible to 'live well with dementia' and that makes us stop and think, to re-evaluate all over again. Life can be different and, obviously, if we can 'live well with dementia' all will be right in our world again. Now there may be some people for whom 'living well with dementia' has turned out to be true. Maybe from the day they were told it was possible their life has been perfect but what does it really mean to those of us who are mere mortals. I would say that, in our case, we are 'living the best we can with dementia'. Some days are better than others and it's certainly a better way of living than it was so I remain optimistic but it's far from perfect. This morning I was listening to the radio and there was an item on a new type of autism centre which 'aims to transform the way millions affected by the condition can be helped' (https://news.sky.com/story/first-of-its-kind-autism-centre-aims-to-dramatically-cut-diagnosis-waiting-time-11719456). What struck me in the snapshot of an interview was the fact that the gentleman talked about being able to 'reduce the challenges' that autism throws up and this seems to me to be a much more realistic way of thinking about the changes we need to make to our lives when we are living with dementia. Living well with dementia should be our long term focus but reducing the challenges one day at a time is a more easily achievable goal and the one I think we should be aiming for right now.
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