From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Going home: Living with a loved one's dementia

Memories and the ability to remember have been described as both a blessing and a curse. While it is nothing short of a miracle to look back and remember things that occurred decades ago, it is a miracle that we have come to expect. And while slight forgetfulness has long been the subject of jokes, memory loss or memory impairment may be an early symptom of dementia, which is no laughing matter. For several years now, my Mother has been waging the battle against the progressive cognitive decline associated with dementia, and those of us who love and care for her have become the foot soldiers in this battle. Here are a few things we have learned along the way.

During my monthly visits home, not only do I get to spend precious time with my parents, but I also learn a great deal about how they handle problems and how they maintain intimacy in their changing relationship. One night during a recent visit, I excused myself from the dinner table to retrieve something from the next room. Just out of their sight, I overheard my parents talking. Just as he has always done, my Father was telling my Mother how beautiful she looked this evening. Caring for loved ones at home is both a skill and an art.

©Copyright, 2007, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.            

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