My husband seemed distracted yesterday though, and went through his pockets a few times, saying that everything was jumbled up together. I smiled and nodded, although aware that something was different.
Once we got home, he staggered a bit. He's not well, and he's worried about the results of recent tests, which have left him with pain. However, during the evening, he admitted he'd confused the time of month. When you're on a pension, like us, you have to stretch your money over four weeks, the last of which is tight. This was the forth week. He'd thought it was the first—the time of plenty.
He kept holding his head and repeating how he'd lost a week of his life. He mentioned his fear of dementia. I must admit, I've noticed several changes in his mental ability and behavior over several months.
So, what can we do?
Dementia is like brain failure—a series of signs and symptoms, including changes to memory, emotional state and ability to manage. Alzheimer's disease, the most common type, is not dementia in itself. It causes dementia symptoms.
With dementia, one of the main symptoms is the loss of memory. The person forgets things, becomes disorientated, or might not know where they are. There could also be changes in personality. People may become either more apathetic or more uninhibited. The crucial thing is the change.
Your doctor knows your medical history and can tell if you have other treatments or conditions that could cause dementia symptoms like memory loss. A proportion of people who are worried can be reassured that their symptoms are not dementia, and can be treated.
What can you do to help the people you know or encounter? Firstly, don't be afraid. Continue to speak to them and give support. So many lose friends and become isolated. Give them time to carry our tasks. Be patient.
In the UK, it is easy and free to become a Dementia Friend at dementiafriends.org.uk Armed with knowledge, you can make a real difference in the society around you.
Worrying times ahead for me. But then, as we age, a decline in physical and mental ability is to be expected. At the end of my morning meditation, I ask to be given the strength to support my husband for the rest of our lives together. He has never flinched from supporting me with my walking disability.
Do you know someone with dementia?