Dementia and the Unfairness of Life

She mentioned that her daughter has dementia. I thought I misheard her. I asked for clarification.

Yes, her daughter has dementia.

Her daughter is 72 and is the process of moving into a facility with her spouse.

I don’t have children, but I can say with confidence that being confronted with the possibility of one of your children passing away before you has to be one of life’s cruelest situations. Continue reading Dementia and the Unfairness of Life

Caregiving Heroes and Saints

A while back, she took an online quiz that claimed to diagnose her with “mild depression.” She had expected “moderate” or even “severe” depression, so she found it reassuring. She had promised herself if it hit the “moderate” category she’d consider counseling. Maybe telehealth. She’s not sure if someone could go stay with her sister while she went to an appointment. Continue reading Caregiving Heroes and Saints

Home for the Holidays

They are planning a trip to Hawaii. The mention of it makes you stick to your stomach. You don’t think it’ll go well. What if they get separated and she wanders off? Can the two of them get through airport security without a debacle? Who will they call if things fall apart? You aren’t sure if you can step away from your job to go get them if there is a crisis. Continue reading Home for the Holidays

Dr. Eshbaugh’s Christmas Letter (aka Give Yourself a Break and Change Your Expectations)

Dear Friends, This is the closest thing to a Christmas letter I will write this year, and it is to those of you who live with dementia and those of you who are caregivers. First of all, it doesn’t matter to me what you celebrate. Hanukkah. (Obviously I don’t celebrate Hanukkah because I looked up how to spell it and it still doesn’t look quite … Continue reading Dr. Eshbaugh’s Christmas Letter (aka Give Yourself a Break and Change Your Expectations)

The Forgetting and the Remembering and the Forgetting

Dementia’s progress isn’t linear nor is it predictable. People living with dementia don’t start forgetting people in the order of “not significant in my life” to “has always been my favorite although I’d never admit it.” People with dementia don’t forget loved ones because they are mad at them. REPEAT THAT TO YOURSELF. Continue reading The Forgetting and the Remembering and the Forgetting

“Behavioral Problems” Are Symptoms (AKA Why You Shouldn’t Use the Term “Behavioral Problems”)

I was on a zoom call with our state’s most passionate and educated dementia advocates. And I heard it. Behavioral problems. Some nursing homes don’t let in people with dementia because they are behavioral problems. I cringed, and I pointed out that we should change our language. And then the meeting continued. I wondered if my point had registered. Probably not, but I’ll keep making … Continue reading “Behavioral Problems” Are Symptoms (AKA Why You Shouldn’t Use the Term “Behavioral Problems”)