How would I feel if someone took away my car keys and my bank account? How would I feel if I couldn’t remember why this was done? What does it feel like to have dementia?¬†

Anger: Because I wouldn’t remember any conversations or information about my condition, I’d be angry. I’m fine, it’s the rest of the world that’s out of kilter. I’d demand my keys and money and call whoever took them a thief and a liar. I might do more, I might try to find these items or strike out at those who took them.

Frustration: Why can’t I remember what we were just talking about? Why can’t I find the remote control or my cell phone? Where did I put my glasses? These events are happening regularly, particularly the remote.

Hurt: Why wasn’t I invited to the wedding? (She was, but doesn’t remember.) Why do people treat me like I’ve lost my mind? Why does the doctor come in, sit and type then leave without saying a word? (True story, our elder firmly believes that’s what happens at each visit. Therefore, one of us always goes with her to the doctor so she can be reminded.)

Fear: I live alone at the top of a steep hill. The grocery store is a mile away. If there’s an emergency, how can I respond to it? What will happen to me? What’s wrong with my body. I can feel something isn’t right… am I going to die?

Depression: Every one of the above emotions can cause depression, either singly, mixed or all together. The world has changed and it’s hard to cope. Many elders consider, attempt and/or succeed at suicide.

This is what it feels like to have dementia. There are no positive side effects. The only thing that can be done is for those of us caring for a dementia patient is to understand these emotions. When our elders react, it is from this base. They need us to help them focus on the positive; without it, it’s all negative.

By yanam49

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