When someone is told they've got Dementia, they don't immediately lose all memories & become a shell of their former self. Receiving the news can be devastating, but it doesn't immediately change your thoughts, behaviors, or memory.
There are upwards of 100 conditions that fall under the Dementia Umbrella.☔️
Some of the most common are:
- Frontotemporal Dementia
- Vascular Dementia
- Lewy Body Dementia
- Multi-Infarct Dementia
- Huntington's Disease
- Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
- Alcohol-related Dementia
- Down Syndrome with Alzheimer's
- HIV Associated Dementia
- Childhood Dementia
They all impact reasoning, memory & activities of daily life, but there are different symptoms associated with each different disease.
Most are a slow (albeit progressive) decline. Individuals can decline at widely varying rates. My Dad passed within seven years of his Parkinson's diagnosis, yet my mom just ended her 22-year-long struggle with Vascular Dementia.
Dad knew things were wrong, and it stressed him. Stress makes the disease progress faster. Other factors likely contributed to his quick decline, but stress is a proven harmful emotion, especially when associated with any form of Dementia. (At least any form that I know of. It's possible there are some small segments unaffected by stress.)
Mom was blissfully unaware anything was wrong, even though she didn't remember names, places, or what we just said. She wasn't stressed about anything.
People often live for several or many years as the Dementia journey progresses. A doctor cannot give you a life expectancy date; only God knows.
And there is A LOT of LIFE left in those years❣️ Even toward the end, when the language ability is gone, there are still:
✴️ good times
Pro Tip: Lower your face to be at eye level with your loved one. Puff out your cheeks and make a crazy face. They will generally laugh and mimic your funny face, and you can both laugh; no words are needed!