Tru here on Thursday.
Last night another dementia friend died. She and i had many commonalities in life’s circumstances, and i will miss her morning greetings on FaceBook … then our little comments throughout the day.
We all experience grief at friend’s death,
but i think we forget that EVERYTHING requires more focus when our brain is dealing with cognitive decline,
and grief (like pain) messes with our neurological signals.
All circuits are busy.
So, it feels like fewer brain communication signals are really getting to their destination.
… all circuits are busy,
so try again later.
“”When brain imaging studies are done on people who are grieving,
increased activity is seen along a broad network of neurons.
These link areas associated
not only with mood but also with
and even the regulation of the heart,
the digestive system,
and other organs.””
(per https://www.prevention.com/health/memory/a20441690/how-your-brain-reacts-to-grief/ )
No surprise that brain-intensive activities are compromised with grief,
but i think important to note that
many other “automatic” activities can be compromised,
for those of us with cognitive decline:
Discover i am tripping much more again this morning.
Makes sense because walking takes much more concentration when brain is struggling with swiss-cheese holes
— then adding grief disrupts that needed concentration.
Chewing requires concentration, otherwise we bite tongue, cheek, etc.
This may be too much information, but remembering to wash hands takes concentration;
this is an increasing problem for me lately.
Frustration level very high.
Only been awake 4hrs (since 3:30am) but tolerance and patience levels aleady similar to late afternoon.
Will need to mostly avoid social networks today.
Like illness, this symptom intensification is probably a preview of things to come, and an opportunity to “practice” techniques and strategies usually un-needed in my day-to-day Life during this stage.
Another opportunity to prepare for symptom progression in a gradual way.
Appropriate mobility tools (for me that means added use of walker or serviceDog for balance inside the house as well as outdoors).
Schedule extra sleep, if possible.
For me, it is not timing for trying something new. Only well-loved familiar movies, foods, etc.
Examples of recent communication glitches (this section was written with my husband’s help):
1. I am searching harder for words, as usual they are often easy common words instead of more complex technical terms. Make sure partner knows that communication is extra-compromised right now, and strategize TOGETHER.
2. Not as much a “partner” in our “joint” projects. So it may be that asking for my help in his projects, (right now) is not so beneficial or rewarding.
3. He says i am consistently unable to remember his responses for 20 minutes. Unfortunately, if i dont remember his schedule that doesnt mean he does not need to leave for work. He does not know the many MANY moments i think of asking him whether he needs to work today, but avoid asking because i know i already asked — i just cannot remember the answer. For ME, that means TODAY’S schedule needs posted on the fridge (in addition to the “normal” locations).
4. Most recently he says a few minutes ago I told him “I need a new card”, but could not specify what kind of “card”, among the many possibilities of “card”. Strategy options might be to hold up an example, pause the conversation, or try writing/drawing it out.
In relationship, recognize it is neither of YOU; the added current struggles are combination of stress and disease.
Death of friend, pet, etc, is a huge change in daily routine.
Circuits overload and nothing is the same.
When we are floundering like this,
maybe it is time to reach out — connect with friend, family member, Dementia Mentors or another chat group such as DAI or DAA Discussions.
We are all on this path together. There is a good chance you will bump shoulders with someone who has walked this portion of the path.
“Don’t cry” to other people for years and years,
and all it has ever meant is, “I’m too uncomfortable when you show your feelings. Don’t cry.”
I’d rather have them say,
“Go ahead and cry. I’m here to be with you.”
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