My goodness life is ever changing, nothing stays the same. There are daily changes, monthly changes and yearly changes. Life is always moving, always on the go and always an adventure.
My second oldest granddaughter will be leaving for East Carolina University. I do declare, I can hardly believe I have two granddaughters in college. My oldest granddaughter is a senior at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. Yes, I said granddaughters. It was only a short time ago, I was playing with those two granddaughters, they were so little and now they are my height. Which of course is not that tall, because I am you may say “kind of” short.
However they are just a little taller than me. Thank goodness they are not my weight. They are healthy, enthusiastic about school and they always give their best. I am very proud of them. Time gets away from us sometimes, we turn around and a whole year goes by in the blink of an eye. In the blink of my eye, my son will be turning 40 within the next month. When I think of this I almost feel like I am going to faint. I repeat “I just can’t believe it”! But then I stop and laugh about life and how wonderful it is. How wonderful it is to be a grandmother and a mother of a 40-year-old son! Life goes by us so fast; and yes changes come with life. If there are no changes you are not living life! You can live life fast or slow, you can live life on the go or stay at home. You can live life with zeal and enthusiasm or you can live it with dismay and discord. You can live it being positive or being negative. It really is your choice. My choice is to be positively positive!
You can take on the role of being a caregiver even though you did not choose to become one, with being positive. When you are a caregiver being positive will keep you above water in an overwhelming sea of dismay. Being a caregiver of a person living with dementia can and will be challenging. It will be a test of your abilities and it will be demanding. You have to focus on what they can still do and not focus on what they can no longer do. You will need to let go of the relationship you once had with the person living with dementia and embrace a new relationship with them. They are changing, their brain is failing, their brain is dying. They are the same person but different.
When we begin to understand what is going on in their brain, we can better come to terms with what we should do as caregivers. I said last week, our brain is amazing and complex. It you think your loved one is showing any signs of dementia you should talk with your Health Care Provider. You will want to get a true diagnosis. I want to share a few resources with you: Dementia Alliance of North Carolina can be reached at 919-832-3732. They are located 9131 Anson Way, Raleigh, North Carolina. You can e-mail Dee Dee Harris. She is the Family Support Resource contact at [email protected] She will have a list of recommended neurologist. MARS (Memory Assessment Resources Services) can be reached at 910-256-7898. They help with assessments and help with memory loss issues. They can also assist in establishing a baseline for memory loss. Perhaps someone in your family has had a condition of dementia and you have some concerns. This is where getting a baseline would give you peace of mind. Check them out at www.marsmemory.com. Project CARE can be reached at 910-408-6365. Project CARE is a respite program, you will talk to Audrey Marshall and she can assist with respite. Please check out Teepa Snow, she is a Dementia Training Specialist. Her knowledge is valuable and you can see her in action by visiting www.teepasnow.com.
If you keep doing the same thing, in the same way, you will continue to get the same results. Take three deep breaths and try something new! Keep a positive attitude and take time for yourself. It slips away so fast just grab it sometime, you will be glad you did. I do not know what my future holds, but I know who holds the future! I may become a great-grandmother or the mother of a 50 year old son or I may become a caregiver to a loved one living with a condition of dementia. Whatever comes I will be positively positive and make choices that will reveal a life worth living. Hope you have a “Best Day Ever!”
Lesia Henderson is the aging specialist for the Sampson County Department of Aging.