The last of the three things I wish I knew when my parents were simultaneously diagnosed with dementia was how important it was to find joy in the journey for everyone.
The care aspect for me, unfortunately, eclipsed my recognition that my time would have been better spent enjoying my parents. I spent a lot of time managing medical appointments and follow-ups, and I wish I would have instead used it to take Dad to a movie, or play cards with my Mom.
My parents thankfully had the means to pay for me to bring in an Aging Life Care Manager, but at the time I didn’t even know they existed. What I do know is that once I finally learned and recognized how they could help, I had already spent weeks of personal time trying to manage medical issues for my parents who could no longer be their own advocates.
After bringing in an Aging Life Care Manager, I saw how they could find a solution or resolve an issue that was taking me hours to troubleshoot. They are typically social workers and Nurses who are trained and certified experts in aging well. You can search for one in your area here.
I still remember the ache of missing my parents when they were sitting in front of me. The dementia had changed their personalities and behavior but often glimpses of the parent I knew would shine through.
There were hilarious and devastating moments. I learned how to laugh and bring my parents in on the humor and worked very hard to shield them from the moments when my grief would bring me to tears.
You don’t know what you don’t know (and I certainly didn’t at the time). I hope my three wishes can help better serve you and your loved ones after a diagnosis of dementia. Refected.