Seeking Positive Pathways

Carol Waarala, MSW, LMSW, Certified Specialist in Aging & Dementia

Making “Sense” of Dementia

making-senseWhen a person develops dementia of the Alzheimer’s type, it is often labeled as a memory disease. And why is memory failing – because the brain is failing. This brain failure is caused by a neurological disease that is gradual and progressive, affecting each person in a different way, and will cause damage throughout the brain. This means that the brain that controlled all our senses will change and be compromised and this will impact our abilities and quality of life.

As dementia damages our five senses, which helped us process information our whole life, we experience changes in sight, hearing/balance, touch, taste, and smell. Over time, these changes diminish the way we communicate and cause us to disengage with others and with life. Often this disengagement appears as though there is no longer a person there.

So how do you connect with someone with dementia? THROUGH THOSE SAME FIVE SENSES. The senses are super resilient, but often need some stimulation from others to awaken them.