Dementia: Talking About Our Experience
Dementia: Still a Taboo?
In a departure from the regular work-focused content, this conversation takes us into the domain of caring for elderly relatives, especially those with dementia or limiting mental health conditions. Listen in below as I talk to my colleague, Tony Arribas, who is the main carer for his mum, and also volunteers in support of other carers...
I chose this topic because I see Tony's posts on Facebook and it looks to me as if he's having a very different experience caring for his mum than many of my friends and connections.
Now, I know Facebook can distort reality (!) but, nevertheless, Tony has a different perspective than many people and therefore his caring responsibilities seem to come with more joy and levity than one might expect—and society would have us believe.
I was very curious about this, so I asked Tony if he'd talk with me about what's going on for him, and what he thinks is going on for his mum, as far as he can tell.
The Magic is in the Meaning
You'll hear us talking about how we all have our ups and downs, but we don't need to put meaning on them, and therefore we don't need to respond from a place that could lead us to a downward spiral.
As Tony says in the call, there isn't anything he can do on the outside that's going to make him feel better (or worse). Our experience is an inside job and therefore we feel better or worse depending on how fast the thought we're experiencing flows through us. We're never a victim of our circumstances; no matter how much it can look that way at the time.
I know this can be a counter-intuitive concept until we remember the times when we've seen it for ourselves. We're not trying to convince you of something you don't yet see, we simply want to raise a question and perhaps encourage you to be open to a new perspective.
Enjoy the interview!
Moods Come and Go
Have you had an experience where you've noticed your mood passes and you're back to a more even state of mind? What if this was 'normal' and there was no need to 'do' anything? And, if you're seeing your elderly relatives in deteriorating mental health, what if that was true for them too?
None of us wants a loved one to suffer, and so the better we understand where our (and their) experience is coming from, the more deeply we can connect, love and care for those people close to us. Which leads us to a more beautiful experience of the time we still have to spend with them.