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Seniors with Dementia: When Something’s Amiss

Blog January 10th, 2015
seniors-with-dementia

Have you ever had one of those days where something just felt off?

We have numerous phrases for describing the feeling:

  • Woke up on the wrong side of the bed
  • Having an off-day
  • Been out of sorts
  • Must be coming down with something

Although sometimes people genuinely have a crick in their neck from a poor night of rest, other times, it acts as almost a sixth sense or an innate intuition.

For instance, you can feel the tension in a room where a couple has just had an argument; you can feel the discomfort of a socially awkward teenager trying to flirt for the first time; and in many cases, you can feel when something bad is about to happen – like an ominous premonition.

Similarly, when your elder is suffering from dementia, you can feel that something is wrong.

Actively Changing Vs. Passively Aging

It’s an interesting distinction to draw, but there will be those elders who are changing and those who are aging (in a negative way).

When someone is undergoing a change, usually they’re aware of it and they want to talk about it – especially with family and close friends. Think of any time a friend finds a new community to bond and socialize with; or even if a family member loses their job – nine times out of ten, they talk about it because they’re optimistic (otherwise, they don’t say anything). And that’s the distinction; it’s an active growth; an active change.

When someone is undergoing a change they don’t want, they’re resistant (not resilient). Similarly, we have a tendency (in America) to fight aging. Most think aging – for lack of a better word – sucks, but it never has to.

(As we’ve said countless times before, retirement can be a gift since you don’t need to be hassled with responsibilities and chores – just have fun!)

However, when an elder is aging passively, it’s usually because they feel like their prime has long since passed and they are on a downward slope in life. This kind of thought can only lead to depression and apathy and when that happens they start to lose much of the mental agility of their actively changing peers.

Let Your Intuition Do the Talking

This Thanksgiving holiday, let your intuition do the talking. If it seems like your elder is weary and somber; quiet and full of unrest; or, if you get the feeling that something is amiss, then something probably is.

Remember that they won’t talk about it, they may not even realize it’s happening, but once you open up the conversation, it will never be undone – and that’s a good thing!

You need them to see what you see, and when they do, they’ll come around – they usually do. Don’t be afraid to speak up, say something. In the end, they will be thankful to know you care.

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