Dementia: It Really Is Scary

My father and my father-in-law have both been diagnosed with dementia.  Seemingly overnight both my mother and my mother-in-law have become the main caretaker for their spouses.This disease, dementia, is actually many hundreds of diseases grouped together under the category of dementia.  There are many types of dementia.  Some are similar to Alzheimer’s, one is Lewy Body Dementia.These diseases can be very progressive (or stay hidden for a prolonged period of time) and the prognosis seems to be loss of life in 5 to 8 years.  Others are slower and easier to catch and can last up to 20 years.  It is difficult to know unless you go to specialists who find out exactly which disease your loved one might have.My father has Lewy Body Dementia.  He has good days and bad days.  Sometimes he is just very tired.  Sometimes he hallucinates.  My mother has been better able to handle things once he was diagnosed and she read the symptoms and progression of the disease.  Just knowing where things are going has been a help.It is also scary.  One of my nieces read the notebook my mom started on the disease.  It shows the progression in the different stages following it all the way through death.  My mom said that she cried as she read it.  It is hard to say goodbye to a loved one.  It is even harder when they don’t actually leave except in their minds.My father-in-law has not been specifically diagnosed, that I know of.  I am not sure what all the doctor has told my mother-in-law.  She is scared for things to change.  She has been waiting for them to go back to the way they were.  She is now on the road to getting some much needed help and support that is local.  Since we live so far away we can only do so much by trips every 6 weeks and phone calls.But knowledge is better than not knowing.  There are many websites that give help and explain what exactly the diseases are and where they are going.  And that makes it less scary.

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