Dementia: The Theft of a Mind

Is that what our governments have in store for us? Do they wish to steal our minds?

If not, they are doing a pretty good job of making me fear that this is the case.

As some posters may know, I build websites in my ‘spare time’. ‘Spare time’ is that thing that some of our older readers may have too much of, or not enough of, depending upon their home situation.

I have recently been building a site that offers music as therapy for those suffering from dementia. It was a labour of love in many respects, as I have friends and acquaintances who find themselves encountering this sad situation.

I have no one in my family who has been laid low by the ultimate theft that is dementia or Alzheimer’s: the theft of one’s mind. This cruel and brutal disorder, this vicious and ultimate theft, is one that I cannot conceive … to see someone who I love and then not know them?  And they not know me?

It leaves me so sad and grateful, all at the same time. Sad for those who have it, sad for those who see it and grateful that it is not me or mine.

It all started because my parents used to entertain at respite centres and nursing homes. Mum is a keyboard player and my late father was a singer. They were invited to entertain the residents at the “care” facilities. Over a period of years, their followers grew. They became popular and I, as their daughter, often attended some of their ‘gigs’ and watched the interaction with the audience. 

Some of the places they visited were lovely… friendly staff and smelling of flowers. Others, not so much. The overwhelming odour of urine and disinfectant… the mood sad and hopeless.

But even in some of those sad places, my parents could bring a sense of joy and hope to those consigned to the too hard basket and the rubbish bin of ‘nobody gives a damn’ because their relatives had more pressing things going on in their younger and busier lives.

I remember one day at a hospice that was of the smell of urine variety. The staff wheeled in an old chap in one of those bed chairs. He looked as if he was dead or should have been or wished he had been.

My parents started their programme.

I saw a twitch under the blanket that covered him. A toe was tapping. As the song went on he opened his eyes, both toes started to tap under the blanket and I started to cry. With joy.

That was about 15 years ago. Since then, my dear father has passed on and my mother and I decided (well, I did) that we should share his voice with others.

And it all started because of a person I ‘met’ on a forum such as this. A man who had a wife with dementia.  He was at a point in his life where he was unable to cope. His beloved wife was so demanding and unpredictable… he was in his 80’s and loved her dearly, but what could he do?
I posted a few of my father’s songs down to him.

What happened next was incredible. She started to sing.

I will not betray a personal conversation, but I was so full of delight that I decided to share the music that was made with love.

Dementia is such a nasty disease. I have had cancer and it tried to deprive me of my body. But dementia? That deprives you of your mind.

Having created this lovely site and, obviously still working on it, I could not help but think about the theft that we face in the world today.

We only truly have two assets: Our minds and our bodies. 

Our governments are trying to steal both.

Our bodies, through the control of what we eat, drink and do. 

Our minds? What we are allowed to say, write and communicate.

All we have left that is sacrosanct are our thoughts. And the poor bastards with dementia do not even have those.