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View Diary: Lessons from the Dementia Diner (88 comments)

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  •  I took care of both my mother and father (8+ / 0-)

    with dementia at home for a couple of years.  Then after my mother died, my father was in a nearby care unit for a few months.

    I too want to add my voice to the appreciation for the staff people who take care of our people with so much patience, understanding, and even love.

    I would also like to discuss another element of what I learned.  

    As a person with some genetic likelihood of developing dementia, I believe we need some way for people who are diagnosed with dementia to voluntarily end their lives before the long protracted period of suffering and helplessness when we are no longer able to make a decision or carry it out.

    The problem with dementia in this regard is that the patient is often far from death, may live a long time.  So the likelihood of immanent death cannot be used as the criterion for assisted suicide.  Having intimately lived through dementia with both my parents, I have a very clear picture of the process and what it does to the individual and the family.  I want to be able to forestall that.

    Of course there is the option of "ordinary" suicide, which could be performed the minute you get the first inkling that dementia might be coming.  I have personally decided on a method and have put in place the means to do it.  But of course we all want to live, the early diagnosis is not that clear, and by the time it's truly confirmed, the patient is no longer able to decide and carry out the intention.  Or one might just be too scared to do it, and the opportunity would pass by.

    We need some form of binding assisted suicide directive that would be put in place before dementia is diagnosed.

    I hope no-one feels that I have brought a negative tone to the comments on this beautiful diary.  It's because of my intense personal experience that I feel so strongly about this.  It is not meant to detract from the truth and inspiration of these wonderful Dementia Diner lessons.

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