As the moments of our lives stream by at what often feels like breakneck speed, it is easy to take them for granted, barely noticing them for all their richness. We squander them recklessly, spending millions each day on unimportant or inane activities. We certainly don’t worship or revere them, and seldom do we adequately calculate their value and importance. Oh, there are occasions when we instinctively want to capture and restrain them, holding them close, and stopping time, like when a parent lay dying or a new baby enters the world. Like fireflies on a summer’s night, we want to capture these moments and place them in a jar on our bedside table so they will be there when we dream, and comfort us during our darkest night.
When I look out at what lays ahead in my life, moments seems to stretch for as far as the eye can see. Their numbers are like a multitude, blurring together and losing their individual importance. Caught in life’s continuum, it is easy to take small moments for granted and let them slip by unnoticed and unappreciated. However, they define my place in the moving stream of life, the constant conveyor belt that continually nudges me forward.
But for the individual who is suffering from dementia, time looks very different. They no longer have the ability to peer over their shoulder and see the recent past, nor can they see the landscape of their future days. Their only real clarity lies in their distant past when they were young and their world was new. Is it any wonder that they are confused? it is as if they are time travelers, torn from the years of their youth and hurled into the present day. The details of their everyday life lack clarity, like small patchwork fields seen from the window of a low flying airplane.
So what remains of the present for the dementia patient? This I can tell you with confidence and assurance. Moments. Brief, lovely interludes of time. They can no longer exploit them on their own, but as their caregiver, you can elevate them to greatness. Moments are just waiting for you to grab hold and begin using them in a productive way. They are your tools, your way in, the key that unlocks the deepest part of who your loved one used to be, and can help you regenerate their sense of play, laughter, and dignity. You can more effectively gain their cooperation. By creating a series of short-lived, momentary joys, even if only for an instant you can offer them a semblance of peace and contentment. Follow my blog to learn how!