The normal vital to those with dementia

By Lesia Henderson - Contributing columnist
Henderson -

This past week I was in Wilmington, caring for my two youngest granddaughters while my daughter and son-in-law went out of town.

My daughter had the trip planned for several months and she secured my time as well. I had such a wonderful time with my granddaughters. We did absolutely what we wanted to do and that was absolutely nothing. Even though we were doing nothing but just hanging out at home it was still be tiring. Because it is not what I normally do! The older of these two granddaughters has her driving permit! So she was able to chauffeur me around Wilmington!

Have you visited Wilmington lately? Well, it has its share of traffic. You could say the town has more than enough! Needless to say I fared just fine while riding, we only had a few close calls! My youngest granddaughter loves to swim and we did plenty of that, right in the back yard of my daughter’s home, how convenient for me. One afternoon my youngest granddaughter and I stayed in the pool for four hours. I must say I slept well that night after taking some ibuprofen. However the next day I suffered from a pulled muscle in my shoulder blade. I love to sleep with my youngest granddaughter, we snuggle, tickle each other and I tell her a bed time story then off to sleep. Everything goes well until about 2:00am when she wakes me up to tell me to quit snoring. The time with them has been great, wonderful and precious. But I am ready to go back to my normal.

When a person is living with dementia, taking them out of their normal really takes a toll on them. You may think that it is a wonderful idea and that the person living with dementia would enjoy, but it is most difficult for them to overcome the outing. They need routine, they need familiar, and they need their normal. I was able to overcome my out of normal period of time this past week. I have a good brain, it was easy for me. But a person living with dementia will not fare very well when you change their normal.

As the disease progresses outings will be a challenge. Remember they are doing the best they can do, their brain is failing, and their brain is dying. It is hard for them to comprehend, it is hard for them to adjust and it is overwhelming. Sometime back I shared about hearing and the effects of hearing so many different sounds or voices. The person living with dementia will get agitated and feel over powered. My goodness don’t we all at times feel over powered by sounds and voices? When a person lives with any condition of dementia they will be extra sensitive. When we begin to think how it affects us, think of how even more so it affects the person that is living with this disease.

I did enjoy my time with my granddaughters; I am tired, I am sore and I took ibuprofen each night before I went to bed. But I would do all over again, maybe in a couple weeks. Remember, take time for yourself, you will be a better caregiver if you do. Hope you have a “Best Day Ever”.

Dementia, Notes to Remember

By Lesia Henderson

Contributing columnist

Lesia Henderson is the aging specialist for the Sampson County Department of Aging.

Lesia Henderson is the aging specialist for the Sampson County Department of Aging.