My husband was diagnosed with vascular dementia accompanied with Lewy body symptoms in 2016.
This diagnosis came after five years of seeing changes in his mood, as well as experiencing weakness in his legs and arms. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had to pick him up from the floor.
With the help of personal support workers and respite periods for myself, I took care of him at home with me for as long as I possibly could. There were hard times where I wished silently to have my “real husband” back.
What was hardest for us was seeing friends disappear. They no longer wanted to visit or ask us to do things with them; they were fearful as they didn’t know how to act around him or what to say to him. This feeling of isolation was the hardest for us.
So many people think that the person living with dementia is lost or no longer present, but I want to tell you that is not the case. Though there are tremendous difficulties with communication, my husband is there, he is still there! I’ve had to hear him say “I’m sorry” countless times to me, because of what he thought he was making me go through.
My faithful attendance to the monthly support group meetings at the Alzheimer Society helped me understand the disease better and learn to accept my new way of life. I am thankful to that caring group of people who helped me find coping strategies and allowed me to speak without casting any judgement. Thank you!
HERE ARE MY TIPS TO HELP YOU UNDERSTAND:
- Though their brain may no longer function as it once had, the person is still there.
- Finding support is essential, whether it be through a professional like a personal support worker, or a likeminded group of people who understand what you are going through.
- Let’s love them the way they’ve become and never forget what they were.