In a recent conversation, the term “dementia” came about and while I had a rough idea of what it meant, I did not know exactly how to define it. So, I looked it up on the internet and this is what I found.
“Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease aren’t the same. Dementia is a general term used to describe symptoms that impact memory, performance of daily activities, and communication abilities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease gets worse with time and affects memory, language, and thought.” Healthline
“None of us wants to be reminded that dementia is random, relentless, and frighteningly common.” – Laurie Graham
Both conditions are indeed frightening, especially when you have known the affected person for a long time. It is when you see people at irregular intervals, that you most notice the changes. Everybody ages, this is the immutable law of nature, but age affects everybody differently. Generally, what is most apparent is the physical decline. Wrinkles and various physical ailments.
What is less obvious, is somebody’s mental decline. Yes, occasionally everybody forgets one thing or the other, but it is generally a temporary lapse. It is when a person becomes incapable of learning and memorizing a simple routine, that it becomes truly frightening.
This is most noticeable when you are in contact with both, older folks, and young children. The youngsters learn extremely fast and have an ironclad memory. Don’t ever make a promise to a young child if you don’t intend to keep it. They will remind you of it until you cry, uncle. The contrast between these two groups is difficult to believe.
A person affected with dementia becomes incapable of remembering the simplest routines, like making a phone call on a smartphone, or even more important remembering a password. Memory loss is what you will notice most readily, and if you are not aware that the person has some dementia, you might crack a joke or make a remark about it.
But you should not. Dementia can strike randomly, and you never know who will be affected. And it is especially painful when it hits a relative or somebody close. Lately, I have heard that an old girlfriend of mine is now going through this dreadful disorder.
When I think about how lively she was when we were together, and how she is now, it breaks my heart. Don’t ever joke about dementia; it is a horrible fate.