Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dementia and a Blank Mind

Have you ever had one of those moments (or one of those days) when your mind just seemed  blank.  You tried to focus.  You tried to gather your thoughts.  You concentrated.  You pondered.  Yet, nothing good came from all the effort and energy expended.
Our loved ones suffering from dementia experience this frequently.  A thought will come to mind, but only part of the thought or memory is there.  They may try with diligence, but the memory will not surface.  Why does that happen?
The brain holds memories in different regions of the brain.  Language and music are on opposites sides of the brain.  Recent memories and memories from fifty years ago are stored in different areas.  Memories with emotion and memories without emotions are processed differently.  All of these factors come together to make memory recall a process that requires the various parts of the brain to work together to make a memory appear in full.
When Alzheimer’s invades the brain, all areas of the brain are damaged.  Thus, memory recall becomes a complicated and difficult task.  The question becomes, “how do we handle these situations?”. 
Simply put, be patient.  Be patient with yourself if you are the one experiencing the  confusion.  Be patient with your loved one if they are experiencing the frustration.  Realize we are only capable of what we are capable of .  That sounds simplistic, but it is also true.  Expecting someone with dementia to remember certain bits of information is unrealistic.  Understanding why they do not remember, accepting them for their capabilities, and loving them through the process results in a good outcome for everyone.
Hope that gives you Something To Ponder.

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