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COMMUNITY VOICE

Dementia is a buffer against headlines

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 12:01 am

Good grief. My daughters, Jamie and Amy, asked me if I had read the headlines lately. Yes, I did. I was mortified by what I read. Shootings in my neighborhood;mass shootings in our nation. Car accidents claiming young lives. How much more tragic can this be?

That is when I thanked God for the blessing of dementia. Anyone reading this or who knows someone living with this disease realizes that we are locked into our own little worlds. I will not remember these things in a few hours, and for that, I am truly blessed. My world is now a simple one. I am so happy in the place my mind is letting me dwell.

I remember things from years past that most people have forgotten. Music from the ’50s and ’60s is a passion. I firmly believe a good song was never written after 1968, except for the disco era – how can you not love The Bee Gees and John Travolta?

A memory loss can be frustrating for a family. I have watched my own family’s frustrations as I get side-tracked on a quest to find four-leaf clovers and end up in a place I am not familiar with. I have also been told that I wandered away and a very nice officer found me and helped get me home.

Jim, my husband, is having to install alarms on our doors and fill out special paperwork called Safe at Home. It is an emergency system for residents of Allen County. He got the form from Walgreens. For these things I am thankful. It gives my family peace of mind.

I cannot convey verbally my thoughts anymore, but writing them gives me an opportunity to go back and see where my thoughts were and change things if I need to. When speaking, you cannot do that. The words are garbled and speech is like an elusive sense that you cannot grasp.

Many of my friends are dealing with spouses and family members diagnosed with dementia. They are struggling to find good care, answers and a miracle medicine that will make it all disappear. In my lifetime I do not foresee that happening.

Please do not grieve for us; we are happy in our world. As I see it, it sure beats the headlines.

Patty Hagadorn is a resident of Fort Wayne.