I want to be clear; I know and see daily the challenges and suffering dementia can bring. I also know and see daily the beautiful joys and learning it can bring, to those experiencing it and those that care for them. Can we have a perspective on dementia that holds both the challenges and the joys? They are not mutually exclusive.
What will it be like to be a 70, 80, 90, 100-year-old woman in the future? Let's imagine 'Nina' in decades ahead. Nina, whose husband died three years ago, lives in her own one-story home, in a pleasant intergenerational community, having made the decision to 'age in place.' Her house is close to the village center where she's on a first name basis with the merchants in all the shops.
Now I am 72. Unlike my father and grandfather, I don't think my life is over or that I am starting the long decline. I expect to live quite awhile longer but I realize this final stage is not about longevity so much as quality of life. So I have come to appreciate certain things that improve the quality of my life.