My mind was engaged in thoughts of my brother J.R. the other day. I was thinking how disoriented dementia had caused J.R. to become in the past 3 years. I tried to figure out which word would best describe dementia. The word that finally popped into my mind was FOG.
J.R. was a fantastic preacher for 43 years. He went on missionary journeys into Africa, India, and Mexico just to mention a few. He preached throughout the U.S. for years. The hardest part of watching J.R. walk into the fog of his dementia journey was watching his knowledge of God’s word disappear. The loss of his understanding of the scriptures caused extreme sadness in my soul. Dementia is such a waste of a person’s mind. When we first brought J.R. to live with us he could participate in Bible class. As time went by I tried to help J.R. find scriptures we were studying. J.R. would get distracted and simply turn pages in his Bible. Soon J.R. could not tell the Bible from the songbook. Sadness overwhelmed me as I watched dementia destroy the brain of someone I loved.
J.R. loved singing church songs. He often filled in as the song leader at church. In a span of 4 months he could not understand how to return to the top of a page to begin verse 2 of a song. I would take my finger and point to verse 2 for him. J.R. could not comprehend what I was trying to do. He would begin to turn pages in the songbook trying to find the 2nd verse.
J.R. was also a very good locksmith for 30 years. He lost all of his skills as a locksmith. He did manage to disassemble door knobs at the nursing home, without tools(?). I never knew how he managed that feat.
Dementia destroys sections of the brain over a period of time. There is no rhyme or reason to let anyone know which section of the brain disappears first. From years of dealing with my mother, brother, and a friend with dementia I describe it as, “Walking Into The Fog.” The farther they walk into the fog, the more they become lost to you and themselves.
Try as we might we cannot defeat dementia. Dementia has become an epidemic through out the entire world. I often think pesticides, food additives, chemicals, dyes, and many other things we should not ingest are causing dementia.
Dementia causes a totally confusing, frustrating, jumbled, perplexing life for the person who has dementia.
Dementia causes depression, distress, unhappiness, regret, guilt, sadness, stress and grief for the caregiver.
God bless those with dementia and those that care for them.