Tag Archives: Early Onset Dementia

The Young Memory House, “Can’t Keep Our Memories Intact, But Can Keep the Love Flowing”

A place that’s set up, to offer the help, the support that these families with patients of early onset dementia needed, and it also, allow these patients with early onset dementia, to keep on contributing in their own means, their own, ways too, off of the Newspapers, translated…

The Stories of the Lives of Those Diagnosed with Early Onset Dementia

The day I’d arrived at Young Coffee, the servers were Chiu and Wu.

Chiu was interactive with the customers, “First time here?  Do you like it here?” as the servers delivered the coffees, he saw the reporter flipping through the stories of the lives of the early-onset dementia patients, he’d gotten activated, “I’d made one too, let me show you!”, and, as I’d turned, I saw the report on the T.V. wall, on how the early onset dementia patient, forgetting what he was gong to do.

Twelve years ago, the fifty-three-year-old owner of the transportation business, Meng fell into a coma from arrhythmia, and days afterwards when he woke back up, he couldn’t, recognize his own wife, Chuang, forgotten how to write, bathe himself, putting his clothes on, his wife thought that this was the side effect from his stroke, and he’d gone into physical therapy for a whole year, but, no improvements, that’s when his wife took him to the neurologist’s for a test, and, Meng was diagnosed with vascular dementia.

As I was drinking the coffee, the shy Wu came over, and used his salesmanship to sell me some cakes, not really many words, thought for a very long time, then told me, “This tastes amazing!”, and, as everybody started getting the whole sentence to try to figure out what Wu meant, then they’d come to known, that this was Wu’s bakery, “The Sweet Memories Bakeries” pound cakes, that’s sold here only on the weekends.

The Fifty-Two-Year-Old Husband Had Dementia, Causing the Whole Family to Fall into State of Panic

When Wu was fifty-two, he had a stroke, which caused his dementia, the day he was formally diagnosed, his wife, Chen and he held each other at the hospital and cried hard.  Wu due to his condition, could not work, and had needed to be taken care of around-the-clock, and needed to take the classes to help slow down the progression, his wife, Hsin-Yi had to keep the household economics, she’d stayed on working, and placed her husband into the daycare programs. Zheng-Bang worked hard for several days, placed himself in the seventy, eighty year old elders, did the physical therapy exercises with them, do the activities of singing, art, being younger, with a good physical health, he’d had a future of work ahead of him, it’d made him feel embarrassed, and refused to go to the daycare center again.

the photo of the cafe

from online, operating every Saturday from 10 to 4p.m

Hsin-Yi found, that the activities are all designed for the elderly population, that there’s a different set of challenges for the families, the patients of early onset dementia.  She’d looked for a very long time, and found Young Coffee, my first call was with “Huei-Jen, we’d talked for two hours straight, it was like I’d finally found that piece of wood in the vastness, that someone finally, understood me.”  Chen’s panic, loneliness, and feeling lost, is common to the loved ones with early onset dementia.

There’s No SOP, Only Learning as They Go

“The early onset is quite different than the elderly dementia, as the elders become demented, they were already dependents of the families, are in need of care.  The younger type would feel, that they needed to find work!  They are faced with loss of job, family conflicts, and other problems relating to these, the education of their young, as well as the caretaking of their, aging parents too!”, the assistant secretary of the Alzheimer’s Foundation, Lee is the driftwood that offered the chances of not drowning to Chen on the other end of the line.

Lee worked with the cases of early-onset dementia patients for many years, is the families’ go-to-person, she’d told, that there are, too many different and complex situations with the early onset cases, there’s no standard means of handling the cases, to even now, she’s still, learning as she goes.

For instance, a few years back, the foundation received a call, a woman who held a higher up position in a firm in her fifties, she was in the beginning stages, single parent, raising a child of only a little older than three, her parents are gone, with no one else she can rely on, she’d come to inquire, what arrangements she can make for her own child.  A year and a half later, the woman deteriorated to the point of not being able to live on her own, the foundation accompanied her to the treatment sessions, helped her retire successfully, found a facility for her, and filed for the adoption papers for her child, each problem came too quickly, “there are a lot of case like this one, before you can think about what to do, you are, forced, to make the choices!”

The Youngest Worker is Forty-Five, with the Café as His Driftwood that Helped Him Stay with Head Above Water

In Young Coffee, everyone has a bitter story.  Currently, the youngest is a man born in 1977, as another individual was diagnosed, he just had twins.  And, for some, because formal diagnosis was hard to get, the individual was labeled as mentally ill, lazy, irresponsible, forced out of their work, gotten divorced from their spouses.

the early onset individuals mixing the dough to make the cookies…photo from online

And so, Young Coffee is a café from the outside looking in, but, it’s actually, a place where the families and the early onset patients’ place to go to learn, and to breathe in, also, a base for the foundation to help the families of these early onset dementia patients.

“Shen-Jen no longer recognized me, he can’t take care of his own needs anymore”, Liu, is also a family member of an early onset dementia patient, her husband, Lin was diagnosed at age fifty-four, in the beginning stages, he’d worked at Young Coffee, taken the classes too, but, dementia is like a long goodbye, no matter how attentive Liu took care of her husband, how much she’d put her mind into caring for him, it still, can’t defy the scripts of life that dementia had written down for her husband.  And even as she’d known how it would end, his wife, Feng-Lien told, that there’s still the heartaches, the losses that come with it.

But, it’s not all loss.  When Liu was younger, she sustained a brain injury, lost all the physical abilities of her body, as a registered handicap person, Liu had always been the cared for in her life, but she’d become stronger, with her husband’s early onset dementia, and became, a caretaker, even now, as her husband is of severe dementia, Liu still spoke for the early onset dementia individuals, fought hard for more resources for them, to get a facility set up to take care of all the early onset dementia patients, she said, all of these resources, her husband is no longer in need of, but they can help the families like them, who are in the same situations, to find that driftwoods, so they can all, float back to shore, without drowning.

with a professional leading the patients of early onset to do some physical activities…photo from online

And so, these are, the stories, of the families of the early onset dementia patients, and, this is a place, that offers the vocational trainings, the opportunities for work, so these younger generations of dementia patients can still continue working, until they can’t work anymore, and this is also a place, where the families can come together, to find that social support they’re all in need of, in taking care of their loved ones who’d been, diagnosed too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Lending a Helping Hand, Life, Observations, Perspectives, Philosophies of Life, Properties of Life, Social Awareness, Social Issues, Values

Taking Care of Demented Elderly, Who Can Help Share the Burdens of the Family Members?

Translated…

Awhile ago, the Catholic Dementia Foundation invited a lot of the families along with the elderly who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to see the movie “Still Alice” with Julianne Moore.

The main character, Alice Howland was a namely linguist, intelligent and independent, with outstanding scholastic achievements, a family of bliss too.  But at the age of just fifty, she was diagnosed as having the early onset form of Alzheimer’s, which is highly hereditary, now only did she have to cope with the fact that she’s losing her basic living skills, as well as her job, she’s also heartbroken over how her own daughter too, had inherited the early onset form of the illness.

That day, I couldn’t help but wonder, I seemed to have become a person with dementia who was watching this movie, because there are some shocking similarities between me and the character, we’re both fifty years of age, and, gone through our master’s program and doctorates in Columbia University in the U.S., the buildings of the school resembled that of ancient Rome, people can easily lose their ways.  I too, am a college professor, and if I’d forgotten what I was lecturing on in class, I would’ve totally gotten bad remarks from the students’ end-of-year evaluations.

The female main character started consciously dealing with her own dementia, which is what I’d told my daughters, “if one day I became demented, you must always remember, that I love you so very much.”

In recent years, I’d worked in the dementia and Alzheimer’s prevention, and I got the chance of observing the troubles of the families with members who have this kind of early onset; especially direct next of kin such as a spouse, or children.  The time when the signs started showing up is usually in the fifties, and the caretakers who are usually the spouse or children, are still in the stages of their lives when they are working.  Just like the husband of the main character in the movie, as a doctor, he’d finally gotten an opportunity, to work at a namely clinic, that he needed to travel to a distant place, and he was faced with the decisions of whether or not to take his wife with him, or give up on the job opportunity.  In the movie, the husband chose to accept the new position of work, and, the youngest daughter who works at a theatre in California came back home to take care of the mother in New York.

This is prevalent in Taiwan, a lot of the caretakers can no longer put everything into work anymore, and are either forced to, or volunteered to reduce her/his workload, turn down the offers of promotions; and were forced to accept that one is no longer as able-bodied, getting demoted, and had even quitted ones’ own jobs.

And, this is the hardships that the caretakers, the family members of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia must adapt to, and, the article gave ways to keep the diagnosed elderly family members healthy like taking the elders to the parks, to increase the contact with the outside world, to socialize more…

Leave a comment

Filed under Awareness, Coping Mechanisms, Cost of Living, Dementia/Deterioration of the Mind, Family Matters, Issues of the Society, Social Issues