What do we need to do to make the best of this situation?
What do we all really need to do to make the best of this difficult situation?
First: what we don't need - We don't need to find another web site, to complete another checklist, to join another group, to pay just one more co-pay to a professional with a different set of initials after their name than has the "gang of five" (or however many professionals you now consult), nor do we need to attend another conference. And for sure, we don't need more and more pills.
We need each other. We need a support network. We need a village of enablers. We need to use the love we already have for each other and the common sense we already have to discover for ourselves how better to get along by ourselves and with each other when the symptoms of dementia become apparent in a family member.
We need the results of sound psycho-social research on the best ways to interact with each other. What are the "best practices" for dealing with the issues of money, driving, intimacy? We know more about a single protein in our brain that may or may not have something to do with dementia, than we do about how to conduct a successful family meeting to discuss the impact dementia is having on the family.
We need to listen to each other. We need to take the time to empathetically appreciate each other's situations. We need a plan. We need a commitment to gathering together every so often to talk about how the plan is going, how we are doing, what we should do more of, what we should do less of, what scares us, what makes us feel good.
This is what I think we do and don't need, what we should and should not do. And this all should happen now, before we come to or cross more bridges. Not to decide, is to decide. Not to decide is to lose even more control of what is happening to each of us and, to all of us.
Stand up, Speak up, Listen, Act.