Today there are 5.4 million Americans diagnosed with dementia. Only about 10-13% of their caregivers seek help and support according to the Alzheimer’s Association. People with dementia are also rarely diagnosed in the very early stages of the disease (10%). Denial by friends and family is alive and well in the US. If we ignore it, maybe it will just go away!
The earlier people are diagnosed, the more opportunity we have to learn about the disease and be more open to others, which is empowering for the caregiver and the person with dementia. This leads to a restructuring of our lives with the added support we will need as we go forward. The more help and support we gather behind us as we take this journey, the less anxious and frustrated, and the more productive this journey will be. I hope to be a part of that.
I intend to instill hope, strength, and courage not only for those who are beginning the dementia caregiver road, but also for those who have survived the journey and are starting over without a loved one. Yes, life presents us with opportunities disguised as challenges. Life is a test, and how we get through that test and what we learn from it is our legacy.