Advantage and disadvantage of living alone with dementia

I’ve had conversations with many people lately about the struggle, frustration, guilt, joy and loneliness felt by those caring for loved ones with dementia. It got me thinking the impossible question – which would I prefer, to be the one with dementia, or to be the one caring for and watching the person I love become a shadow of their former self? May sound an odd choice to question, but each has it’s own unique tragic side. Both sides of the story are polar opposites in relation to challenges faced.

For those caring, the daily challenge seems one of survival. No one would question the love they have for the person – this they have in bucketfuls – but at what cost to their own life? After all, many have had to give up work, their former lifestyle, have friends who no longer visit. They have the daily challenge of keeping their loved ones feeling safe and secure – no mean feat when faced with the constant repetition of the same question of who they are and where they are. Their love and loyalty know no bounds but at what cost?

As someone living alone with Alzheimer’s and currently in the early stages – I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m relieved I live alone, not to have a partner. I don’t think I could have asked or expected anyone to devote their life to me when I start to lose the mental capacity to look after myself. I certainly don’t want my daughters to have to make that choice. That’s why the decision has already been made, discussions had and documented in my Lasting Power of Attorney. I couldn’t live with the guilt of them having to make that emotional decision themselves in the future.

 So much more needs to be done for those living alone with dementia but also to support those who have put their lives on hold to care for a loved one – a challenging dilemma……

 

As always, I always trying and focus on the positives in this cruel situation I find myself in. The advantages are there is no one to question my reason for watching the same programme back to back or my wish to sit in silence without any noise to confuse the brain. We can’t change what is happening to us so we have to adapt our lives to make it easier to live with this disease.
However, it also means you have no one to comfort you on the darker days, no hugs of reassurance, no words of encouragement. I’m lucky as I get hugs from my daughters each time I see them, down the phone and on emails…

There are many people living alone with dementia who must just drift over the edge of losing capacity without knowing or planning – what happens to those? As friends stop visiting or they feel in need of support and no one is there…..

Kate Swaffer’s blog is absolutely fantastic – highly recommended. Click on the link below for another woman’s experience of living alone with dementia:

http://kateswaffer.com/2015/02/12/guest-blog-by-dr-judy-galvin-on-living-alone-with-dementia/

Remember, as always, this is just my opinion of the subject. It’s purpose purely to evoke thoughts and discussion. Everyone has their individual right to their own opinion and experience. I can only give my view or experience as everyone’s experience is different.
Feelings remain when facts are forgotten

Everyone of every age should attend a Dementia Friends session
Everyone of every age should attend a Dementia Friends session

 

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About wendy7713

On the 31st July 2014 I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. I may not have much of a short term memory anymore but that date is one I’ll never forget. I’m 58 years young, live happily alone in Yorkshire, have 2 daughters and I’m currently still in full time employment in the NHS. However, I’m now in the process of taking early retirement to give me a chance of enjoying life while I’m still me. I've started this blog to allow me, in the first instance, to write all my thoughts before they’re lost. If anyone chooses to follow my ramblings it will serve as a way of raising awareness on the lack of research into Alzheimer's. It will hopefully convey the helplessness of those diagnosed with dementia, as there is no cure – the end is inevitable. However, I’m also hoping I can convey that, although we've been diagnosed, people like me still have a substantial contribution to make; we still have a sense of humour; we sill have feelings. I’m hoping to show the reality of trying to cope on a day to day basis with the ever-changing environment that dementia throws at those diagnosed with the condition. What I want is not sympathy. What I want is simply to raise awareness.

4 thoughts on “Advantage and disadvantage of living alone with dementia

  1. Living well with dementia comes from within the very individual it encapsulates?
    I accept and respect your emotions and observations!!!
    Shadow of ones former self? I’m going to challenge you on,surely you’re just reshaping the shadow?

    Liked by 1 person

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