Dealing with dementia presents challenges

Mary Hamway

Bessie’s Corner

By Mary Hamway | Daily Sun

Dear Bessie: About a couple of years ago, Jim, the husband of my best friend was diagnosed with dementia. In the beginning, things seemed pretty normal, but over this past year, his health has really declined, and she is now his fulltime caregiver.

Consequentially, the time we get to spend together is very limited, and when we do get together, I am unsure what to say or how to offer help.

We tried going out to eat as a threesome, but that was a disaster! Jim was loud, inappropriate and just rude to the waitstaff and other customers. It was so embarrassing; I can’t imagine trying that again. I love my friends, but it’s to the point where I don’t want to be around them. Can you help? — A Bad Friend Dear Friend: I’m going to drop the “bad” in your name and suggest that you are a good friend but it does sound like you could use a little information to make the time spent with your friends more enjoyable. As a quick primer, dementia is an umbrella term that covers many symptoms, such as memory loss and changes in mood and personality, and it is important to get a diagnosis from a doctor. It is estimated that 5.7 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease which is the most common, but not the only form, of dementia. There are few of us over 60 that don’t dread the thought of getting this horrible disease, but dementia is not a normal part of aging and Arizona is a leader in Alzheimer’s research where the goal is to eradicate this disease.