It’s a sad and tortuous disease, one that separates families before their time.
A visit to care homes that house dementia patients in the Parksville Qualicum Beach area can be revealing and can leave one feeling very empty.
Empty may be an appropriate word to associate with this disease. Communication with someone in advanced stages of dementia can be an empty feeling. One really doesn’t know if a loved one is grasping any words, touches or efforts at closeness, or if they are, well, empty. Does she know I am her daughter/son/spouse? Is she enjoying this ice cream? What is it like for her when I’m not here visiting?
The human brain remains a mystery in so many ways. We see that with concussions and their treatment and long-lasting effects. We see it with dementia. We get the sense we still know very little about the workings of our most important organ.
Thankfully, there are people in our society who are determined to find causes and cures. People like the Alzheimer Society of B.C. It’s Alzheimer Awareness Month, and we have put our Thursday Spotlight on the disease and what’s being done (please see page A5).
Parksville Qualicum Beach has, per capita, the oldest residents in the country. While we are living longer because of active lives, modern medicine and education about healthy nutrition, our demographic dictates that we have many cases of dementia.
The people who work in the care homes of Parksville Qualicum Beach that house dementia patients are a special type of human. The nurses and care aids and all others in these wards are real champions, dealing daily with difficult situations, and doing it with grace, respect and professionalism. It is truly one of those jobs about which most would people say: thank goodness for them because I could never do it.
Meanwhile, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. soldiers on, raising awareness and funds in the effort to learn more about the disease, perhaps one day find a cure. The society has been doing this since 1989.
Today we salute both the society and the people who work with dementia patients.
They deserve the support of all of us. Go to alzheimerbc.org to see how you can help, because there, but for the grace of God, go all of us.
— Editorial by John Harding