Updated: Jan 5, 2019
I've learned that there are a lot of misconceptions out there about dementia, and I’d like to take some time over the next several weeks to address a few of the big ones. I’ve heard all of these statements at one time or another, so I feel drawn to share my perspective. Stay tuned for my take on some of the most common myths out there.
I’m going to start this series off by tackling the toughest one first. In all honesty, this misconception is often the most difficult one for me to hear. I understand the sentiment and I know where people are coming from on this, but I can’t help but think of the vibrancy of my mom’s life even in her final years on earth.
Throughout the progression of the disease, she struggled a lot with remembering names, faces, and details. At first you could tell it was difficult for her to choose the right word or to recall the specifics of a particular memory. I imagine this would be challenging for anyone to come to terms with. But then there came a time when she appeared to be very much in a state of contentment, almost bliss. Sometimes she would carry on a conversation by herself for ten or fifteen minutes before she’d stop to let someone else get a word in. Other times she’d smile and laugh to herself as she quietly remembered something that warmed her soul. Most of the time she liked to make jokes to the nursing home staff and family members who came to her room, saying things like "grease your feet and slide under" when someone knocked or greeting visitors in Norwegian instead of English.
These moments convinced me that she still found happiness and peace despite this terrible disease--and it led me to believe that her life was worth living no matter how much the disease took from her.