Excerpt from a post from Welcome to Dementialand, a blog by Dr. Elaine Eshbaugh, an associate professor of Gerontology and Family Studies.
“You can’t fix dementia.
I don’t care how much you love someone or how many books you read. It doesn’t matter if you feed them the perfect diet and travel to specialists across the country. At this point in time, we cannot repair the brain after dementia takes hold. So don’t beat yourself up when dementia progresses. You’re not doing anything wrong.”
Ok, I’m gonna get on my soapbox for a minute.
When my own mother has dementia, why would I get on a soapbox screaming, “YOU CAN’T FIX DEMENTIA!” Seems counter intuitive. Or glass is half full. Or hopeless. Or fatalist.
It’s not. It’s reality. The harsh reality is that though studies are being done, and efforts are underway, at this point in time, dementia cannot be reversed. And although there are ways to prevent certain types of dementia, there are ways to slow certain types of dementia, there are ways to alleviate the symptoms of certain types of dementia for a while, dementia is at this time NOT curable, NOT reversible, and NOT entirely preventable.
Anyone touting otherwise is fucking with you. Plain and simple. They may have good intentions. They may even truly believe their snake-oil salesman pitch. And worse, they may actually BE a snake-oil salesman playing on your emotions, fear, distress, hopelessness, and love for your loved one to separate you from your money.
Because I am caring for someone who has dementia, it makes me unbelievably angry when I see something like a seminar on how diet and healthy lifestyle can reverse dementia. Or how a handful of supplements every day can bring Mom’s Folstein Mini Mental State Examination score up from 23. “But Francey, this is offering hope!”
No, it’s not. It’s offering a ticket to fantasy land.
Here in the real world, I know that the brain is the most complex structure known to man.
“There are as many connections in a single cubic centimeter of brain tissue as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy.” Incognito – David Eagleman.
I want scientists and medical professionals with actual medical training to find a way to end dementia, and a way to cure dementia as much, if not more, than the average person. It’s why I blog. It’s why I post. It’s why I talk to anyone who wants to listen, and maybe even those who don’t want to listen.
But I will not be silent against those offering false hope. It’s wrong, it’s immoral, and it is dangerous. I live in the real world. And sometimes the real world just plain sucks. But false hope is a cancer all its own.