Communication is Key
By: Michelle Remold
Being a Gerontology major; aging, dementia, and Alzheimer’s were and are often discussed in classes. I must say though that even before heading to college, I would often talk about dementia and Alzheimer’s with friends and anyone who would listen. I found that Alzheimer’s was often the topic of many high school research papers I wrote. It never hit me that the topic of dementia and Alzheimer’s weren’t always openly discussed.
This past week Lori La Bey was in my hometown giving a presentation at Keystone Senior Living. I attended and had some people I have recently met accompany me as well. The people who attended with me hear me talk about grad school and the fact I want to work with those affected by Alzheimer’s quite frequently. During the presentation, it is mentioned that Alzheimer’s and dementia are something we need to talk more about. I couldn’t agree more.
I don’t know why it isn’t discussed more. It could be there are stigmas attached with the disease or fear of what people will say or think. The thing I have found though is that more often than not, the people I am talking with have had some experience with Alzheimer’s or dementia in one way or another. It is comforting to know that others around have experienced or are experiencing the things you are or have faced. I also enjoy listening to different stories and hearing what worked for them and what didn’t work in different situations.
However after the presentation this past week, I saw the same people ecstatic about what they had just learned. Communication lines were definitely opened. I think attending things like presentations or just talking a little more openly about Alzheimer’s and dementia can help people find others that understand them and what they are dealing with. I do hope that this does become a more openly discussed topic. No one should feel alone or have to face the challenges presented alone either. I think we can only better ourselves by increasing our knowledge of Alzheimer’s and dementia and learning how to support those with the disease and their caregivers.
Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.