Let’s talk about an important topic that impacts most families touched by dementia, denial.
To truly understand why it happens, it’s important to first get to the root of it. To put it simply, the idea of someone you love or care about suffering or experiencing dementia symptoms can be very upsetting to think about, and it becomes easier to not think about it at all.
This is how denial begins.
Though this denial begins out of self-preservation, it goes downhill quickly, leading families to pretend that life is normal. This type of denial can make dementia much more difficult to treat and have serious consequences on the quality of life for both you, the caregiver, and the person you’re caring for by delaying important medical treatment and lifestyle changes that can become dangerous very fast.
The antidote for dementia denial is “Dementia Awareness,” the philosophy of proactively traveling the dementia road with love, compassion and knowledge. The higher the level of understanding about dementia and what is actually going on from the start, the more prepared you are to navigate the many ups and downs of the journey with confidence, ease and patience.
To become Dementia Aware, you will need to begin to think differently to understand what someone might be experiencing after a diagnosis. This means advocating for yourself as a caregiver and seeking out competent and personalized training, as well as maintaining an open and loving mind and heart. There are so many layers to dementia, with many hurdles along the way, but the difficult times can become less jarring if you know what to expect. Similarly, it can be easy to find more joyful moments along the way when you are open to them.
It may feel at times that you’re traveling this new and intimidating journey alone, but dementia is a complex experience that has a ripple effect on so many beyond just the caregiver and the person living with dementia. In that sense, consider the bigger picture when you are seeking out resources. When you empower yourself with Dementia Awareness, you are contributing to the greater good of your family, friends and entire community.