If I get dementia…..

If I get dementia.....

If I get dementia…..

A poem by Rachael Wonderlin.

When you work in dementia care, people tend to ask you a lot of questions. Probably one of the most common questions that I hear is,

“Are you afraid to get dementia when you’re older?”

Honestly, there are many things that scare me much more than dementia does. Don’t get me wrong: dementia is a terrible group of diseases. I’ve been fortunate, however, to see many of the beautiful moments that people with dementia can experience.

Just in case I do get dementia, I’ve written a list of rules I’d like to live by.

If I get dementia, I’d like my family to hang this wish list up on the wall where I live.

If I get dementia, I want my friends and family to embrace my reality

If I get dementia, I don’t want to be treated like a child. Talk to me like the adult that I am.

If I get dementia, I still want to enjoy the things that I’ve always enjoyed. Help me find a way to exercise, read, and visit with friends.

If I get dementia, ask me to tell you a story from my past. If I get dementia, and I become agitated, take the time to figure out what is bothering me.

If I get dementia, treat me the way that you would want to be treated.

If I get dementia, make sure that there are plenty of snacks for me in the house. Even now if I don’t eat I get angry, and if I have dementia, I may have trouble explaining what I need.

If I get dementia, don’t talk about me as if I’m not in the room.

If I get dementia, don’t feel guilty if you cannot care for me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s not your fault, and you’ve done your best. Find someone who can help you, or choose a great new place for me to live.

If I get dementia, and I live in a dementia care community, please visit me often.

If I get dementia, don’t act frustrated if I mix up names, events, or places. Take a deep breath. It’s not my fault.

If I get dementia, make sure I always have my favourite music playing within earshot.

f I get dementia, and I like to pick up items and carry them around, help me return those items to their original places.

If I get dementia, don’t exclude me from parties and family gatherings.

If I get dementia, know that I still like receiving hugs or handshakes.

If I get dementia, remember that I am still the person you know and love.

Originally published:  January 3, 2015 Original Post 

Rachael Wonderlin,  MS Dementia Consultant & Trainer, Community Designer at Dementia By Day, LLC

image Posters available for purchase from http://rachaelwonderlin.com/products/

Written for Alzheimer’s Reading Room. See Rachel Wonderlin’s blog at www.dementia-by-day.com

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