When there is a rock in our path, we can stumble over it or use it as a stepping stone.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Internet Benefits for a Dementia Patient

After giving me a Pick's Disease diagnosis, my first neurologist basically wrote me off.   He held up no hope that I would do anything other than deteriorate from that point on and did not mention that there were medications like Exelon that could help me regain some of what I had lost.      Long story short, I spent 2 1/2 years in a nursing home until a doctor there said "lets try some things and see if we can improve your quality of life."     Thanks to Exelon, I was able to leave the nursing home.

I got rid of  98% of my belongings prior to admission in the nursing home.  Since leaving the nursing home in 2006, my home has been a rented bedroom in a few different places - i.e, not a lot of storage space.
Thus for someone like me, who has had to reduce possessions, has very little room to own a lot of extra things, very little money for them anyway (my roommate/caretaker has fibromyalgia and has not been able to work for several years so household finances are tight), but who still has interest in both old hobbies and learning about new ones, the internet is a lifesaver.

For example, I gave away my collection of old postcards and cake decorating supplies plus almost all of my clowning materials including my magic, face painting, puppetry supplies,  etc. but I still can vicariously enjoy my interests on web sites such as  The Best Hearts are Crunchy  (old postcards) and Larry Crews (magic) and vicariously travel along with others  via blogs like Zellerbok even though I am primarily homebound now in real life.

I very strongly credit the internet for helping me keep my cognitive reserve strong as it allows me to continue to participate to some degree in things that can no longer be a part of my "real life."

I would love to learn if you are living with dementia yourself or have a loved one who is, how does the internet improve your quality of life (for the patient) or that of your loved one?


NewKidontheBlogg said...

I think that for a caregiver it lets you reach out without making a phone call that your loved one might get upset about. I try to make things as normal, calm and fun for my husband who has Mixed Dementia.

It is such a shame that you weren't given Exelon earlier. Every person is different and you are remarkable.

Just be glad you don't have a lot of stuff. Maybe you can work with one hobby at a time. Certainly the Internet blogs are great hobbies.

Stumblinn said...

That is an excellent point re how it helps caregivers. I never thought about it from that perspective.

Yes, Exelon earlier would have kept me out of a nursing home. As with all experiences, I did learn a lot while I was there as reading about or visiting one never really shows you what life in one is like.

Thank you for your insights and words of encouragement.

Karen said...

If it weren't for Facebook, I often would not have a conversation every day with anyone other than my kids. I love them but they are teenagers and they are still more of a drain on my resources than they are a support -- as it should be. Yes, these people are my friends in real life too, but how often do you actually pick up a phone and call? I've also found friends going back to elementary school. My friends from now know that I have health issues, although they don't know the extent of it. With acquaintances, I can be normal. Typos and automatic spell-check correction can cover a lot!

Stumblinn said...

Just acknowledging that I saw this comment, Karen. I will reply to it when I reply to your email later on today.