Dementia is Increasing and YOU could be next.
Baby Boomers - have you stopped to think where you might be in 20 years, at the most 30 years time?
Could you be staring down the corridors of a nursing home?
What kind of service will you expect?
What do you think you'll be able to do with your time?
What if you can't make that decision?
How will you cope?
Imagine being unable to use a knife and fork to eat, unable to dress yourself, unable to brush your teeth or even use the toilet.
Seriously, imagine that for a moment - losing the ability to do all the daily things that we take for granted.
Imagine being totally dependent on others.
How does it feel?
How do you think you will feel when someone else is required to assist you with simply living
and being safe - every day.
Now imagine sitting at the dinner table and not knowing what to do with the food in front of you, being unsure of what to pick up, not recognising a piece of bread and the butter beside it, not knowing how to have your dinner.
You are sitting there confused, embarrassed, sad, lonely, in despair, hungry, frustrated - all these emotions going through your mind within seconds....until finally....someone who is paid and who does care....helps you...butters your bread and cuts it for you and hands it to you, places the fork in your hand and encourages you to eat.
This is what it was like for my mother during the first few minutes of sitting at the table
for a meal - and there are thousands like her - younger and older.
It used to take considerable time to feed her to ensure she receives nourishment because she would suddenly get up and go for a wander.....or she might tell you she no longer wants any food....and you just wait.....cause she will eventually sit again and the feeding begins.....again.
Five years later she now needs someone to feed her. She can no longer pick up a piece of food with her fingers and put it in her mouth. She can't walk, talk or do anything for herself.
Imagine being in a room full of people whose faces seem familiar, yet you cannot call out their names because you cannot remember them and furthermore, cannot articulate the words. Imagine listening in on conversations, wanting to contribute, and all that comes out of your mouth is "gobbledidook". Imagine seeing confusion, bewilderment and pity in your family's eyes and not understanding the desperation in yourself because you cannot communicate with the people you love. Imagine your embarrassment when these people actually laugh at you, or snicker about your behaviour to themselves, laughing at you, instead of reaching in to understand your confused and frightening world. Just for a second imagine what that might feel like and just for a second you may have just gained a minuscule insight into the darkness and depths of dementia.
Dementia is a cruel disease.
I have watched my mother disappear piece by piece, the vibrant woman that was, is no more.
Have you stopped to think what will happen to you when you get old?
What are you going to do when you lose your partner, the love of your life?
What will happen to you when your children can no longer take care of you?
Imagine being in a nursing home where your physical and medical needs are met,
but your emotional needs are not.
Go and visit someone in a nursing home. Have a good look around, listen and observe the elderly. My mum is not alone in her dementia world.
There are many women and men in nursing homes all over Australia just like her.
Just like her, they are at times sad and lonely and depressed.
Just like her, they want to be loved.
Just like her, they need respect and dignity in their last years.
Just like her, they want to laugh and enjoy life.
If dementia has not scarred them, other ailments have.
They all deserve quality of life.
THE ESSENCE OF WHO THEY ARE IS STILL THERE - PLEASE DO NOT ABANDON THEM.
ON THE FLIPSIDE, THERE IS HOPE FOR ALL OF THESE PEOPLE.
THERE IS HOPE FOR ALL OF US AS WE APPROACH OLD AGE.
We need to begin growing "COMPANIONS" resources to meet elderly needs now,
and to meet our own - currently unknown - needs in the future.
THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW