Another Valuable Tool in My Caregiver’s Toolbox

The first seven years after Kate’s diagnosis went very well. We enjoyed life just as we had decided to do, but I never stopped to think about why we were doing so well. It was just good fortune. Of course, that was, and still is true, but it wasn’t until 2018 that I read a book that gave me a deeper understanding. That was The Dementia Handbook by Judy Cornish.

The critical piece of information for me was her distinction between rational and intuitive thought and abilities. She makes the point that “All is not lost with dementia.” People with dementia lose their rational thought that deals with facts and reasoning. They lose their memory and ability to do many things they have done before; however, they retain their intuitive thought and abilities that deal with feeling and emotion experienced through our senses. People with dementia can still see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. That means they can still enjoy many of the pleasures in life. This knowledge became one of the most important tools in my “Caregiver’s Toolbox.”

When I looked back at the things Kate and I had done, it was clear to me that we had devoted ourselves to activities that tapped into our intuitive thought and abilities. We didn’t focus on the things she couldn’t do. We devoted our attention to what she was still able to do. Our decision to enjoy life and each other for as long as we could led to our binging on the activities we had enjoyed before her diagnosis. All of them were things that Kate could still appreciate. I’ll say more on that in my next post.