01 May If we didn’t understand before, we surely can now…
IN RECENT DAYS, WE’VE ALL DISCOVERED WHAT MANY OLDER ADULTS,
ESPECIALLY THOSE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA, HAVE ALREADY EXPERIENCED.
HOPEFULLY, WE POSSESS GREATER UNDERSTANDING AND EMPATHY AS A RESULT
What did we do when we were worried with all the bad news we were hearing?
We focused on our physical ailments.
What did we do when our routines changed and
we weren’t quite sure what we “should be doing?”
We walked, we organized, we cleaned, we wandered…or we just sat down, overwhelmed with trying to do anything at all. We missed feeling purposeful and clear in our direction.
What did we do when our control was suddenly taken away?
When our world was getting smaller?
We hoarded. We looked for ways to regain control.
How did we react to being separated from loved ones?
We felt sad and lonely. Maybe we became irritable. Sometimes we didn’t want to do what we were told. We just wanted to be with someone we love.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?
Those of us without dementia have the ability to do what we need to do, despite our feelings, and current circumstances, to maintain our own sense of well-being (as defined by P.A.S.T.–SPECAL®)
Personal worth (identity and meaning)—I can still initiate work that makes me feel valuable
Autonomy (and growth)—I can still make decisions and carry them out
Social ease (connectedness and joy)—I can still figure out ways to connect with people who matter
Trust (security)—I still have recent facts in my mind to know I have food in the cupboard and money in the bank. I still have logical skills intact to give context to the situation, knowing this won’t last forever. I can trust that all will be well again.
Our friends experiencing dementia symptoms may need a little help to regain and retain well-being. Our own feelings in this culture of physical distancing can propel us toward better care, compassion, understanding, and empathy for older adults, especially those with cognitive impairment who struggle
to maintain P.A.S.T. on their own.
When we turn “us and them/you and me” into a
we promote well-being (P.A.S.T.) for all.
Let that be our goal.
If “getting back to normal” is all we aim for,
we’ll miss the greatest growth opportunity of our lives.
—Cyndy Hunt Luzinski-DFCNOCO