With dementia, is progress measured by digging a hole or climbing a mountain?

I enjoy setting a goal and working toward something specific. I usually start with the big lofty goal and then break it down into steps that I can strive toward. I’m a little fanatical this way.

When I tried to create a goal around my parents, I was stumped. My heart tells me to deliver loving care with grace and humor — but that doesn’t really define what it is I’m going to achieve if I’m doing this right.

Is my goal to get them to stay in the retirement community full-time? Even if they stay in their independent-living apartment, they are not able to create a new routine to enjoy the activities offered to them.

So, is my goal to have them accept part-time care? My dad in particular has been adamant about not accepting outside help.

Is my goal to keep my parents as independent as possible without exposing them to an elevated level of risk of harm? How do I determine what the level of risk is?

My goals clash with their goals. I worry about them getting harmed and being taken advantage of so having them continue without some type of safety framework, in the form of help by a personal assistant is really my base line.

I finally realized that there is no way for me to define a traditional goal in caring for someone with dementia. Things don’t get better for the individual with a dementia diagnosis. We are all losing in the face of this disease.

I need to lead with my heart, not my head on this one. I need to create an environment that maximizes their days … which will continue to change over the coming years. Enlightened.

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