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Dementia and Spiritual Practice

A lot of emotions can bubble to the surface and create a few ripples in that normally calm demeanor of mine (haha) while dealing with aging parents, one of whom has been diagnosed with dementia. I watch how other family members respond to this parent and I see the impact that they allow it to have on them. In some way, the “disease” becomes everyone’s source of dis-ease.

But at the end of the day, it is what it is. Yes, it means there are things we have to do differently to help keep the individual safe and healthy. It does create more work or tasks for the people closest to and caring for the one who has dementia. Loving ‘what is’ is still possible.

I’m not immune to moments of impatience and irritation. On most days, though, I’m able to allow my parent’s dementia to bring out the best in me. My patience levels are vastly improved. I’m gentler, kinder and perhaps a bit more loving than in the past. Given that this has been a challenging person to relate to for most of my life, I now feel more compassion and a willingness to look within for my own healing. I’m inquiring inwardly about the specific ways in which this person has “pushed my buttons” and triggered reactions and behaviors in me that I know once served as defenses and now get in the way of my own well-being.

More on this later. For now, I wanted to add this first post that generally sets the stage for what is to follow as I continue to explore my inner world while interacting with parents during their later years in life and especially as my family and I come to terms with dementia and its impact on us all.