Posted 3/25/20 (9 months until Christmas)
(WARNING…THIS TOPIC and CLIP WILL BE DISTURBING TO MANY, MANY.
OK…ALL…but it needs to be discussed.)
(Parental Discretion advised)
Happy Hump Day, all! It is going to be a glorious 70+ day with lots of sun here in the Ozarks and 80+ tomorrow. (Sniff, sniff…where are you storms…I know you are lurking after two nice days like this?!) I am hoping we are getting over the hump of this virus too as we are working through the President’s 15 Days to Slow the Spread. We shall see. In the meantime, I have over 450 articles available for your laughing, crying and hopefully information-gathering pleasure. Off we go:
Redemption Re:Dementia today gives us one of the most sad segments of any movie I can think of. I am sorry for all of the spoilers. I am also sorry for the curse words in these clips…but the movie did imitate life in our little community and is worth considering.
Skip by the video and just read the quotes if you prefer…it will make sense enough…
“The World Went And Got Itself In A Big Damn Hurry.”
“I keep thinking Jake might show up and say Hello…but, he never does. I hope, wherever he is, he is doin’ OK and makin’ new friends.”
“I have trouble sleeping at night. I have bad dreams like I am fallin’. I wake up scared. Sometimes it takes me a while to remember where I am.”
“I don’t like it here. I am tired of being afraid all the time. I decided not to stay.”
Depression added to dementia. There is a nice, big, fat double whammy for ya!!! Add to it that many with dementia are no longer able to take their own lives…but must just sit around and think, in a broken way. Heartache. Despair. Gloom. I am sure the fictional character Brooks from Shawshank had dementia. You can easily read between the lines in the short clip and see it as clear as day. Robin Williams, one of my very favorite actors, suffered from depression and the savage Lewy Body Dementia. Williams died from suicide in 2014. (More links about this tragic bout with Lewy Body: Link Link Link Link and Link ). What a dynamically Dastardly duo depression and dementia are. 🙁
What can we do to help such a tragic situation? Fortunately there are ways! Before getting to everyday things, if your loved one is considering ending his or her life, here are positive options:
- FIRST, if you are concerned your loved one may attempt to end his or her life, treat it very seriously. Call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Line. If there are signs of emergency, call 911.
- If you would like general information on mental illness, contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) at 1-800-950-6264 or, if in a mental health crisis you can text NAMI to 741741
There are hundreds of thousands with dementia who, while they may not rise to the above level of urgent, time-sensitive response, they do need help as soon as possible too. Some practical thoughts:
- Here is a simple one: Visit them in their home or memory unit. Be very regular in your time so that they can, as best possible, expect you to come. “But what if they forget who I am?” you may ask… They will, perhaps, outwardly. I do believe, in my heart or hearts, that they remember you inside. AND, you will certainly remember them.
- (If in a nursing home) Schedule some form of regular music or book reading with the administration. There is typically some red tape to wade through, but it will be worth every pen stroke.
- (If in home) Contact your Area Agency on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association to ask about phone reassurance programs. In our agency (SeniorAge), we call on thousands of seniors daily just to check in and visit and make sure all is well. Not being alone is soooo important in everyone’s mental well-being, but especially so for a friend with dementia.
- Start a craft club for seniors, even those with early dementia. At SeniorAge, we have several senior centers who have regular painting class. Expressing yourself through the arts lifts your spirits and is very good for your mental health and your brain health.
- Be available. Do you know a senior who is alone and may have dementia? (or even if not)… Be available. Swing by and say hi. Bring a pie or a casserole. Why have we gotten away from this in society (pandemic aside…)? Make sure they, or their caregiver if they have one, knows it isn’t a burden. Talk about the good ole days! Share pictures. Take a walk together. Share precious time.
- Talk to your church or civic association about getting serious about helping those with dementia and their caregivers. Mobilize a bunch of volunteers and storm the nursing homes and at-home caregiver situations with love and togetherness. 🙂
Suicide and deep depression are just far too common today! Both can be prevented, with work. Let’s join in where we can and stand in the gap helping these folks to feel their inherent, God-given worth. Time is wasting…get your plan together while you are stuck in home with time on your hands. Make some calls. Draft up a schedule. Contact some facilities. Ask around… This is a perfect time. The million fellas and ladies like Brooks NEED to know we care. Let’s do this thing…
Update: Mom is still chugging along. She is still smiley, by all reports. I talk to her by Facetime shortly and will fill you in tomorrow. Still no visitors. Stuck “in the hole”….
Thanks all! I realize this topic is hard and may open healing wounds for some. If so, I am truly sorry…but it needed to be said.
Hopelessness in the memory unit feels as real as this