By Erin Tucker
World Alzheimer’s Day was September 21. In honor of those who have a loved one suffering from dementia and those who are dealing with it themselves, we want to share this list that one of our Tucker Law friends shared with us. Perhaps we should
all keep a copy of this just in case.
If I get dementia, I want those around me and taking care of me to remember these things.
1. If I get dementia, I want my family and friends to embrace my reality. Just go with it and have fun.
2. If I get dementia, and I think my spouse is still alive, or if I think we’re visiting my parents for dinner, let me believe those things. I’ll be much happier for it.
3. If I get dementia, don’t argue with me about what is true for me versus what is true for you.
4. If I get dementia, and I am not sure who you are, do not take it personally. My timeline is confusing to me, and I may not even recognize my own reflection in the mirror.
5. If I get dementia, and can no longer use utensils, do not start feeding me. Instead, switch me to a finger-food diet, and see if I can still feed myself first.
6. If I get dementia, and I am sad or anxious, hold my hand and listen. Do not tell me that my feelings are unfounded. Sing or dance with me to distract and make me laugh.
7. If I get dementia, I don’t want to be treated like a child. Talk to me like the adult that I am. Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid, and don’t let anyone else do it.
8. If I get dementia, I still want to enjoy the things that I’ve always enjoyed. Help me find a way to do some of it.
9. If I get dementia, ask me to tell you a story from my past, even if it’s the same one you always hear.
10. If I get dementia, and I become agitated, take the time to figure out what is bothering me. Be patient. I’m probably frustrated because I can’t express myself, I’ve lost my independence, I’m not feeling well, or I’m feeling fearful or anxious.
11. If I get dementia, treat me the way that you would want to be treated.
12. If I get dementia, make sure that there are plenty of snacks for me. Even now, if I don’t eat I get hangry, and if I have dementia, I may have trouble explaining what I need. PS: I love sweet treats.
13. If I get dementia, don’t talk about me as if I’m not in the room. Don’t let anyone else do it.
14. 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.
15. If I get dementia, and I live in a dementia care community, please visit me often.
16. 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. I’m trying.
17. If I get dementia, make sure I always have my favorite music playing within earshot. Turn my favorite show on.
18. If I get dementia, and I like to pick up items and carry them around, help me return those items to their original place. Don’t accuse me of stealing stuff.
19. If I get dementia, don’t exclude me from parties and family gatherings. I need stimulation, whether I realize it or not.
20. If I get dementia, know that I still like receiving hugs, kisses, and touches. As a matter of fact, I need it.
21. If I get dementia, remember that I am still the person you know and love in this shell. I am still those memories. I still love you.
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