Many people often wonder what it is like to live with dementia. They often have a hard time imagining losing their memories and the ability to take care of themselves. Last summer, Sarah's Law Firm had the pleasure of welcoming Adele Tiberius to the office to give the team training and education on dementia and eldercare. During her visit, she performed the following exercise with the team. We encourage you to take the time to perform this exercise, which is in Adele's own words, in order to get a better understanding of what a person suffering from dementia might experience.
1. Collect 10 pieces of paper and write down something you love on each of those pieces. It can be a person, an experience, a hobby, a memory, a food--anything that gives you joy and brings you fulfillment.
2. Take one of those slips, perhaps your favorite, and really imagine it. Imagine how that food tastes and feels in your mouth; imagine how that person looks, what it feels like to hold them, how they smell; imagine doing that activity. Whatever it is, really revel in it. Really visualize it.
3. Now take that piece of paper and crumple it up. Throw it on the floor. You never get to experience it again. How does that feel?
4. Do the same thing with each of the pieces of paper in front of you. Vividly imagine each and then discard them. Take a moment to notice how you feel. Imagine that this was your future. Slowly, you will lose the ability to experience the things that bring you joy, to remember your past, and to be with the people you love. This is what people with dementia must come to terms with and grieve.