We realize that no one really wants to truly talk about the latter parts of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases. We believe that this is the exactly sort of discussion that is needed for people to truly understand what it’s like.
Late stage dementia is the point wherein the brain has sustained a significant amount of degeneration. This means that any normal processes that our brain are able to do are no longer possible. A person who is undergoing the latter stage or advanced dementia is generally considered to be mentally frail. Here are a few things that they may be experiencing:
Significant Loss of Memory
Our brains are where we store our memories. When our brains are no longer healthy or are subjected to a degenerative illness, we no longer have the capacity to store new memories or even access the memories that we have stored for years and years.
As you can imagine, it can be utterly terrifying having to reorient yourself every time you open your eyes. Imagine a life where you constantly need to be told who you are, where you are, and why you are there. What is difficult about this is that there are small periods wherein a person with dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders can slightly remember or recognize family members but it never lasts.
Difficulty Eating, Drinking, and Breathing
It is our brain that tells the other parts of the body what to do. When the brain has sustained significant damage or massive deterioration, even the things that are second nature to us can be a mountain to overcome each time.
The brain is what tells our muscles to chew the food or to drink the water and not put it into our lungs. When the brain is no longer at the point where it can do its job, those in latter stages of neurodegenerative disorder may find extreme difficulty in eating, drinking, or breathing successfully and safely.
It is to be noted that not all of the symptoms listed above may show up or may be something that they experience for sure.
While no one who personally undergoes the latter stages of dementia and neurodegenerative diseases can tell us from their standpoint what it is like, we have enough observation based data. What we also have a lot of is the accounts from family members who were there and got to see how this diseased ravaged someone that they loved.
The tales of those who have witnessed the latter stages of a life wasted away can tell you what it is like from their point of view. What tale do you have to share regarding the latter part of dementia and neurodegenerative disease?
When it comes to learning more or seeing the other side of an argument, we can always rely on our popular culture to provide us with a look into another perspective. Today, we wanted to take a look at some films that focus about a topic that is a core part of our advocacy: Dementia.
Here are a few films that we highly suggest you watch if you want to explore the topic of dementia:
Still Alice is a novel to film adaptation of Lisa Genova’s novel. It follows the journey of a linguistics professor—played by the incredible Julianne Moore—who now has to deal with the fact that she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Audiences get to watch the changes and shifts in the dynamic of the character’s life. We get to experience the sheer fear of losing control of one’s mind. It is the turmoil which follows a family and a network of friends and coworkers when they are now faced with the future that they may not be remembered one day.
Away From Her
“Away From Her” is a drama which follows a married couple who now have to deal with the fact that the wife has Alzheimer’s. It is an interesting view of a life and a dynamic of a relationship when memories are no longer present to sustain it.
Much like so many who are diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease, the wife chooses to move herself into a home for those like her. The struggle comes when her husband visits and realizes that she no longer remembers him. Worse, she has started to build a new relationship with someone else. It’s a gritty and realistic look at how families are torn apart because of a disease.
Another touching family film about a pair of siblings who move in with their father because is dealing with his dementia. The title of the film comes from one of the father’s delusions about being able to see the northern lights from the window of his room.
This film provides a good look at how families are left to deal with the pieces of someone’s affliction.
Film, in general, has always been a pretty special medium. Films have the ability to provide a sneak peek into a completely different life and a completely different perspective. It allows audiences to truly experience a life that may be so similar and keenly accurate with their own. Films allow audiences to wholly explore a life that is presently happing to millions all over the world.
Which film about dementia would you suggest others watch?
Dementia is the kind of topic that everyone commiserates over and fervently wishes that they—or anyone they know—never get. This is because dementia has been known to truly devastate those who have it.
More and more people are being diagnosed with dementia and other neurodegenerative issues. This does not really create a positive outlook over the autumn years of a person. Dementia can hit anyone no matter how healthy they are or whatever their social standing in life. So it is quite understandable if so many people in their prime right now do not have a very positive outlook on what the future holds.
When no one is looking forward to their elder years, it affects how they presently live their lives.
Disconnect with the Elderly
It is no secret that those who are afflicted with Dementia are rather difficult to handle at times. They can rather mercurial at times. They can seemingly be completely normal then suddenly be baffled, frustrated, and even angry.
The loss of control is something that we tend to avoid. We like to remember who we are. We like to know where we are and how to be independent. Dementia takes that from us and it can be terrifying and wholly humiliating. This rage and often difficult temper can lead to disconnect between the elderly and the young. The lessons that we could learn from the elderly is effectively cut off.
Spike in Assisted Suicides
One very real but unfortunate impact that dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases have on our society is the spike of those seeking assisted suicides. More and more people are lobbying—and successfully attaining—for laws which allow them to obtain assisted suicide.
Everyone who have read up about dementia and what it does to a person will know that there is nothing good to look forward to. People who have this choice ahead of them choose to either check out of life early rather than wait for their complete decay of their mind and mental functions.
Dementia is something that tends to affect those in the latter stages of their life and we still don’t know what causes it or how to effectively avoid it. This means that this threat, this pall, will always be looming over our heads. Would we be the next ones to be struck down? Is it a loved one? This is why we should not be content with simply managing the symptoms with medication or providing “better” homes and institutions for the afflicted.
What do you think the impact dementia will have on society as a whole?
Dementia is a topic that everyone seems to be familiar with but when it really gets down to the wire, do they really understand what dementia is? This is something we aim to clarify today.
What is Dementia?
It is not dementia itself that is the illness. In fact, dementia is what they refer to the overall degeneration of cognitive mental abilities. Dementia is a common symptom of a degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s.
Dementia is usually—and incorrectly—assumed to be something that only happens to people of advanced age. Dementia and the other cognitive degenerative diseases do not select age. A reason why people think only the elderly are afflicted with dementia is because a majority of the representation in film and TV are elderly characters.
Dementia affects lives drastically. Here are a few things that it causes:
Drastic memory loss
It is important to note that there are different types of Dementia. Each one has their own specific effects on the human mind and body. If there is anyone in your family that seemingly seems disoriented or has long bouts of faulty memory, you may want to get them checked.
Dementia is something that is mostly glamorized and turned into plot devices in TV and movies. The topic of dementia is suddenly turned into a catalyst that would allow other people to realize their calling or attain closure. Those that struggle with dementia were turned into the giant nuisance that mar otherwise perfect lives.
This is something that we need to fight as well. Dementia should not just be something that is used to convey “what it would be like” or worse case scenarios of another person’s life. Dementia is real and can happen to anyone—this is why we need to find a cure.