Diamonds in Dementia

In the story called “Acres of Diamonds,” a man hears that people are making a fortune in diamond mining, so he sells his large farm and sets out to get in on the action. The guy who buys the farm is surprised when his newly-purchased land turns out to be one of the richest diamond mines on the continent. The first man literally walks away from acres of diamonds. The diamonds are right there, but he goes seeking them elsewhere and ends up disappointed and broke.

Dealing with dementia is difficult for everyone. I long for an easier, less stressful existence. Walking away isn’t an option. But I’ve discovered that there are “diamonds” in dementia. Mostly, they’re little ones; but if I pay attention, I can see them sparkle. For example:

  • Dad’s illness has opened doors for me to reconnect with relatives and family friends I haven’t seen in years.
  • Dad’s forced-slow down means that I get to enjoy extended, one-on-one time with him. For years, he was too busy; now he has time to talk.
  • The time-crunch created by my new responsibilities provided the nudge I needed to finally learn how to use the headset and the voice-activated dialing on my mobile phone. (I feel so “modern” now!)
  • In situations when I’ve expected people to react with annoyance to Dad’s testy behaviors,  I’ve seen compassion and willingness to help. Again and again, I’ve been humbled and deeply touched by the kindness and patience of strangers.

My challenge to you: Whatever difficulty you may be experiencing, find some good in it.

  • What insights have you gained?
  • What time-management tool have you discovered?
  • Who has surprised you by being supportive?

Look around and see what diamonds you can find right where you are.

My mom and dad – in their house in Stockton, CA, approx. 1990


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4 responses to “Diamonds in Dementia

  1. The first diamond I can think of (but I know there will be more) is the even stronger friendship you and I have. Strength in Numbers! Thanks for listening!

    • Lisa, When all this first started with my dad, you gave me a card welcoming me to “the club.” It made me feel so much stronger knowing I wasn’t in this alone. I still have the card right in front of me on the bulletin board at my desk: yes, yet another diamond! Goodness, we’re going to be RICH! ;->

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