August 10 2020 0Comment

Dementia: When a Loved One Dies Twice

You may choose cremation services serving the area of Lynden, WA after your loved one’s death. However, if your loved one has dementia, they will, in reality, die twice. Dementia is a term that encompasses every form of neurological degeneration that affects cognition and memory.

Dementia is on the rise in America and in the world. As Baby Boomers, who represent the largest global and American generation, get older, the number of cases of all types of dementia is expected to explode.

Alzheimer’s disease is the best-known type of dementia, but it is far from the only type of dementia or even the most common type of dementia.

There are many forms of dementia that have been diagnosed by neurological research. These include, to name a few, frontotemporal lobe dementia, vascular dementia, and Lewy Body dementia. It is not uncommon anymore for people to have multiple types of dementia at the same time (mixed dementia).

In addition, dementia is a frequent result of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) suffered by active duty military members in war zones and by professional athletes in high-contact sports.

Dementia is everywhere, but we may not be able to pinpoint what is wrong at first. With our loved ones, we may see occasional short-term memory loss at first. Then, we may notice that they habitually lose things.

Gradually, we may observe that they seem to forget how to get to familiar places, that they are increasingly confused, and that they (and we) have significant communication and complex problem-solving issues.

As dementia progresses, we will probably see our loved ones get more paranoid. They may exhibit signs of delusional thinking and experiencing visual and audio hallucinations. While these are common manifestations of dementia, they can be very difficult to deal with.

And, while there are some medications that can help alleviate the worst of these symptoms, many of them have severe side effects that can be worse than the benefits they provide.

A milestone in progression of dementia, though, is that our loved ones die once while they are still living. This is when the neurological damage of dementia advances to the state (middle-to-late-stage dementia) where our loved ones don’t recognize or know us any longer. While people in this stage of dementia lose the ability to communicate, most of them do not.

You will experience the grief of this death the first time your loved one asks, out of nowhere, who you are and what your name is.

You will go through all the grief of that loss (even though it’s likely that sometimes your loved one might remember you and other times they may not, but you never know when) even though your loved one is still living.

Eventually, though, you will accept that death, even though it will hurt sometimes because you still have all the memories of your loved one and you, but they don’t, unless it’s a much earlier time in their lives.

You and your loved one will live this way, with the dementia worsening, until they die a second time, when their physical life comes to an end.

No two people handle these two instances of dying the same way. Some people grieve when they experience the first death and don’t grieve the second death. However, other people begin a whole new grieving process for the physical loss of their loved one that expands the grieving process of the first death.

If you’d like to learn about cremation services available in the area of Lynden, WA, our empathetic and knowledgeable staff at Moles Farewell Tributes & Crematory – Bayview Chapel can help.