January is Alzheimer’s awareness month. As most of you know this is a subject that is very near to my heart. My dad was diagnosed with early onset dementia three years ago now. The campaign that the Alzheimer’s Society is putting on for January really struck me, because I see it happening to my dad. For those of you that have not heard about it the campaign is called #stillhere. Here is the video from the Alzheimer’s society: http://www.alzheimer.ca/stillhere
This is a sad video that I think displays how a lot of people who have become victim to dementia feel: http://globalnews.ca/news/2438250/i-wish-theyd-come-over-66-year-old-man-with-alzheimers-makes-emotional-plea-for-friends-to-talk-to-him/
It is hard not to be impacted by a video like that.
I really support this campaign as I see this happening to my dad all the time. My dad loves to chat, he was in sales for his job and there is good reason for it. He still loves to chat but sometimes struggles with finishing sentences or being able to come up with the words of what he is trying to say. But usually we can piece it together and luckily he has my mom, his wife of 36 years so she can usually help him out. My dad still has a good sense of humor and will usually just laugh it off when he cannot figure out what to say.
The sad part is that even at family events I see people just avoiding conversation with my dad. It is so sad and I can only imagine how frustrating it must be from my dad’s perspective not only is he literally living as his brain continues to deteriorate, but he is being left alone in the meantime.
How do I deal with it? By treating my dad the exact same way I would have before the diagnosis of dementia! Because at the end of the day that is who he is and always will be to me!! My dad has had far too much taken away from him at the age of 56 including his license, his career and his independence. The last thing I am going to do is take away his role as my dad!!
So if you know anyone (and chances are you do) with Alzheimer’s do not act as if they are no longer with us, because they are and they may not be for long. So go visit them and treat them the same as you would have before they had a diagnosis of Alzheimers. It will mean the world to them, I am sure! Take time to enjoy the people that are #stillhere!