I’m not sure what dementia is supposed to look like. Although I have some really good moments when I feel like anything is possible, I also have moments when confusion and disorientation take control of my emotions, my actions and my body functions. Dementia doesn’t just happen over-night.Think of a beautiful tree all decorated with lots of new lights, ornaments and ribbons. One day one of the bulbs start to flicker. You tap it a little and it goes back on. Over time, another starts to flicker and another. Sometimes you can get them to come back on and sometimes they will not come back on.
So, you make adjustments to distract from the burnt-out lights. Move an ornament or add some tinsel to enhance the lights. All the while this is happening, your tree remains beautiful and brightens the room. People who don’t see your tree often or who visit during the day time may not notice the lights flickering or those that are totally off. But you know that in time all the lights will fade.
I have times when my lights flicker and some of those “bulbs” don’t want to come back on, for example with math.
For now, enough lights are still shinning that I can try to brighten the world. Physically I am strong and healthy. My husband Roy and I have found that I CAN do many things that I did before – I just have to do them differently. We try to find an adjustment to compensate for the flickering
Sometimes people say “You don’t look like you have dementia.” and I’m thankful my lights aren’t flickering or that we’ve made the right adjustments. For now my tree stands tall, bright and beautiful. With routines and adjustments I able to live a beneficial, happy life. The day may come when all my light bulbs are dim, but for now, I
am thankful for all the days when I can be useful. As my husband reminds me, a Christmas tree is also beautiful during the day when the lights are off.
I am not the same Laurie I was, but with adjustments, planning and routines my lights can still sparkle.
There are many variations using the analogy of dementia being like a Christmas Tree. The first version I heard of this was written by a wonderful Dementia Advocate, Norm Mac – thanks for the inspirations Norms! I think this is such a great analogy that after writing it I put it into a video.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Love & Laughter,
© Copyright November 2016 Laurie Scherrer