During this quarantine I’ve thought a lot about how the radical changes and forced isolation is affecting people. The Coronavirus has brought the world to its knees and every society on earth is being affected. People are for the most part creatures of habit and when routines are suddenly and forcefully changed it can disrupt the emotional balance. What we believed to be real has been drastically and suddenly changed. There’s no way to imagine what the future will look like when this is over and for many people this terrifies them.
Not knowing what my future holds has always been what motivates me. I thrive on change and whatever I find myself involved in has to have a component of continual transformation. I get inspiration when circumstances challenge me and force me into creative thinking and taking new directions. Dementia and all the elements connected to it have certainly given me lots of food for thought and new directions continually present themselves especially now while in quarantine.
Interestingly, this morning I was pondering the parallels between the dementia experience, and our experiences with the virus situation.
Those with dementia experience drastic shifts in their reality every day which commonly creates intense fear; we are also living this. Who could imagine the entire world coming to a halt and overnight we get forced into isolation? Aren’t those experiencing dementia also in isolation? As they lose touch with reality and the ability to communicate and interact with people, they become mentally and physically isolated, secluded in their homes or confined for the rest of their lives in a care facility. Hasn’t this quarantine created a similar separation for us?
Worse yet, the uncertainty of this time has created, is causing an emotional instability: we are fighting over toilet paper in stores and losing our tempers with those confined with us. Many of us are beginning to deal with depression and are turning to medications. Sound familiar? Doesn’t dementia cause emotional imbalances often leading to bouts of anger and depression which are usually controlled with medications?
In my presentations on dementia, I often express the importance of developing empathy; to step into the shoes of the person with dementia. What it feels like to be living through this time of Corona is giving you a chance to do that.