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When dementia is involved, time is scarce

Senior Moments

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POSTED: March 11, 2018 1:30 p.m.
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Rich DeLong is the executive director of Station Exchange Senior Care.

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One of my favorite movies is "The Notebook." It was on TV the other night and of course I watched it, again, for the umpteenth time.

The movie came out in 2004. The book, by the same name and written by Nicholas Sparks, is a contemporary love story set in the pre- and post-World War II era. Noah and Allie spend a wonderful summer together, but they are soon separated by her family and their socio-economic differences.

Eventually, Noah goes off to war and after serving his country, he returns home to restore an old farmhouse. A newspaper article about his endeavor catches Allie’s eye, and 14 years after she last saw Noah, Allie returns to him.

The only problem is she is engaged to another man, Lon Hammond, a wealthy and handsome young man she met during the war.

There are really two movies in one as the scene flips back and forth from times when everyone was young, to a time much later in life. Allie is now living in a nursing facility and there’s a man reading to her from a book, The Notebook, which was written by Allie soon after she was diagnosed with dementia.

The inscription on the book at the end of the movie says, "Read this to me, and I’ll come back to you."

The big question mark toward the end of this romantic saga is who is the man reading to her? Is it Noah or Lon?

There’s no spoiler alert here. You will have to read the book or watch the movie. Just be sure to have a full box of Kleenex by your side because tears will be flowing.

I think the most important element to the movie from a very realistic point of view, is how much time and attention is given to Allie by the man reading the notebook. He actually moves into the same facility to be closer to her. Even his family is worried about all the time he is spending with her.

And now we come to the point of this article – time.

It takes all the time you have, and then some, to truly care for a loved one who has dementia. There is no substitute for time, and it’s the one thing we seem to have less of more and more.

I can’t begin to describe how demanding it can be when caring for another person. I have a hard enough time caring for myself. Add a dementia diagnosis to that picture and all of a sudden the game really changes.

Only it is not a game. It is real life and many people are experiencing this every day with a feeling of nowhere to turn. It can be overwhelming in a hurry.

There are organizations that can help with resources and urgent needs. But truthfully, most of their time is spent on fundraising and research – which we need. But the day-in and day-out help is hard to come by. It can be expensive and you have to trust the people that are providing you help.

Dementia has already become a healthcare crisis and will only increase as we find ways to live longer. There is no doubt in my mind that we will need to address this issue as a community that comes together to help one another.

One such network that we have is our Alzheimer’s Exchange Support Group. If you need help, please join us every fourth Tuesday of the month. It is free and you can learn a lot. Contact me using the information below for more information.

Time is of the essence my friends.

Contact him at 912-531-7867 or

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