DEMENTIA: There is Hope
by Robert Bowles, Jr., DAA Leadership Board
Sometimes doom and gloom are preached about dementia. Often I hear people say there is no hope after their diagnosis of dementia. That is likely a fairly normal response. Our world has been turned upside down. Do we stay in that mindset or do we seek to LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST. My decision was to follow a process of learning and finding purpose after my diagnosis of Lewy body disease (DLB).
My thoughts turned toward the fact that everyone will die one day. Did I want to die at age 64? No! Since I had no desire to give up, learning to LIVE WITH DEMENTIA became a mission for me.
Having practiced pharmacy for 42 years and continually striving to study, learn and meet the needs of my patients, I decided to use that same passion and focus in learning more and more about dementia. Learning has had a huge positive impact on my journey.
Giving up is NOT an option. I will fully acknowledge there are parts of living with dementia that are physical, emotional and cruel. I refuse to let those elements and others in this disease define who I am. Where do I go from here?
Reflecting back on the United States Declaration of Independence, we find, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
This tells me that I have a right to live with dementia. America Heritage Dictionary Fifth Addition defines “liberty” as “the condition of being free from oppressive and restriction by government or OTHER POWER. Thus it becomes important to NOT allow dementia to have power over me. There is no room in my brain for this to occur. I refuse to rent space in my brain for that potential power.
A very important one…..HAPPINESS for those of us living with dementia. Happiness and calmness sets the stage for having a positive attitude and finding purpose in life.
Enjoying peace and calm can help bring happiness. Pausing to view God’s creation, and the things that we’ve never seen before because we were too busy doing other things. Watching the birds and listening to the birds chirp, bringing joy. Showing others we love them by finding time for them. So many things we can do to enjoy a better life.
Now is the time…..START LIVING. Focus on our blessings and enjoy the day.