Living with dementia is hard. I know because I know people who live with it and they tell me so. And I saw first hand how hard it was for my mom.
Being a care partner to someone who lives with dementia is also hard. I know because I did it in various ways for a decade, and I read real-life accounts about how difficult it is for other care partners everywhere every day.
Sometimes people living with dementia and their care partners feel or think they are worse off than those on the other side of the coin. But are they? And if they are, does it really matter?
Living with dementia is excruciatingly difficult on everybody: the people who live with it, the people who live with the people who live with it, their families, their friends, and their communities. Everybody. Dementia is tough on everybody.
I get frustrated sometimes because we don’t need to make this dementia rough patch into a no-win argument about who has the shorter end of the stick. No one does. No one is worse off. It’s shitty. Life is shitty. We’re all in it, and it’s shitty. As well as joyful.
Just because someone expresses the fact that she or he is having a hard time, doesn’t negate YOUR hard time. It just means every-fucking-body is having a hard time.
We could have been the mother, farther, daughter, sister, or brother of someone killed in a square in Mogadishu today. Or the parent forced to send his child to sea alone in an unseaworthy boat because that’s the only one-in-a-million chance that child has to survive, only to have him drown on the way to potential safety. Or the young Rohingya mother who watched her baby being burned alive after soldiers threw him into a fire. And then she was raped. The rest of her family was murdered; somehow she managed to escape.
There are far worse things than living with dementia or being the care partner of someone who lives with dementia. We are lucky in so many ways. We should be counting our collective blessings. Let’s maintain some perspective, and create some space for more joy to honour those who don’t have nearly as much as we do.
End of mini rant.
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