What is Peace with Dementia ?
How can I put these words in the same sentence?
There is no doubt that dementia- a term describing progressive decline in memory, communication, judgment, focus, and visual perception- is a horrible condition. Many times, dementia is considered "the long goodbye," robbing a person of self, only to become "a shell of a person." If you look at it that way, you almost guarantee a horrible experience for you and the person with dementia.
I use the term "Peace with Dementia" to describe a journey where a care partner has accepted the unfortunate condition and is making efforts to make the best of the situation. Acceptance is, of course, after seeing medical providers and eliminating a reversible type of dementia. The focus then shifts to quality of life for the person with dementia and the care partner themselves. Peace for one person may mean five hours of interrupted sleep. For another care partner it could mean going out with a friend as a break without feeling guilty.
To be at peace is not giving up; it is quite the opposite. Dr. William Thomas, author and Geriatrician calls "loneliness, helplessness, and boredom" the plagues of institutionalism. These are not limited to institutions and can easily occur at home. Peace with Dementia involves addressing the plagues through education, identifying challenges, creating a strategy, and most importantly, love and empathy. It is important to know that many of the behaviors of persons with dementia that care partners find frustrating are a form of communication. Repeating words or motions, wandering inside or outside, blaming, and other behaviors are usually a person trying to express that they are bored, scared, embarrassed, uncomfortable, or in pain. They are not at peace.
My mission is to collaborate with families to discover and create Peace with Dementia. I hope that you will partner with me on this journey.