Changes that occur in the lives of a person with dementia (PWD) are often overwhelming. Each of us have varying abilities that change from time to time. These changes occur over time. Then, one day, we realize just how much things have changed. At least, it is this way for me as I live with dementia with Lewy bodies (LBD).
As we accept our diagnosis, we must also learn to live with our diagnosis. Living life to the fullest most often will provide a better quality of life. Part of the equation of a better quality of life is accepting the changes that take place and not letting them drag us down. I always attempt to find a way to massage the changes that might occur in my life. Sometimes, I am able to simply make some minor adjustments. The worse case scenario is that I can no longer do the same thing.
Allow me to share with you two illustrations. Approximately six months ago, my cognition was changing very quickly. It had reached a point that the change would occur sometimes within minutes or hours. This is very common in LBD even in the early stages of the disease. Realizing that this was occurring, I gave me wife my car keys and told her that I would never drive again. This was probably the most difficult thing that I had dealt with since my diagnosis. I knew though that it was the right thing to do because I did not want to have an accident and hurt or possibly take the life of someone. When I was in the car, I always drove unless I was physically unable to drive. I dealt with this by thinking about the decrease stress that would be in my life by me not driving and the joy of someone else driving for me. This past Christmas, one of my wife's Christmas gifts was a chauffeur's caps. I have never thought a second time about giving driving up.
My friend, Harry Urban in Pennsylvania, is an avid wood-worker. He always loved to craft beautiful furniture and other things. He reached a point, where he no longer could use power tools. He adapted quickly. Just like me, he refused to let his disease rule his life. He started crafting smaller pieces of wood-work by imagining what the finished project might look like. As his work progresses, his work flows and changes are made based upon the appearance of the project. Recently, he started creating a wooden pen. In the end, he had created six different pens, all with different designs. Each time he finishes a project, he has climbed another mountain. His wood-work is gorgeous.
Wherever we are in our disease process, do what we can with what we have. When we do this, we will have a better quality of life.
©2015 Robert Bowles
Robert Bowles, Jr.