Acceptance and Kindness
I recently had a clinic visit with a patient and family who have been traveling along the journey from mild cognitive impairment to mild dementia. They expressed that they recently have embraced the Alzheimer's disease diagnosis and how freeing this has been for all of them. I was struck by how acceptance of the diagnosis seems to have led to greater self kindness on the part of the patient and kindness toward the patient on the part of the family. We have written about acceptance and self kindness in the past, and this clinical interaction really brought the intersection of these 2 concepts home for me. It also reminded me of a favorite quote by the Dalai Lama, pictured above.
I would challenge us each to consider today the ways in which we might “choose kindness”. For yourself, with MCI, it may be practicing acceptance of the diagnosis, and giving yourself grace that your memory is an area that needs support. If you are a care partner, maybe it is thinking about ways in which you can support your loved one with MCI, or perhaps ways in which you can be kind to yourself. Consider adding this to your to do list today!
Comment below on how you practice self kindness, acceptance, or both.
Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) blog.
I had a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment and am used to it and joined a support group and felt very good about myself. Then yesterday my neurologist announced that I have Mild Dementia. He had his assistant give me a cognitive test. I feel shocked. He did not say why I had advanced or tell me what Mild Dementia is. I take Namzaric and they help me a lot but it felt blunt. Like I was being hit from behind. He told me that I did much better than he expected on the test! I have a six month appointment and will have another cognitive test. I went on the Mayo website and felt better I do need more than a dx, pills and a test. My husband was with me then and he was surprised too. You are the first person that I have told. I have had mini strokes in my brain and my last brain MRI was three years ago. My brain is shrinking more and I have hyperintensies on the last MR!/
You have such an amazing attitude, Carol. I've seen you offer support to others in various groups on Mayo Clinic Connect. Thank you.
Here's another place where you may wish to give and get support:
– Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/new-to-mci/
I wonder if you, like @larryh123 who lives with lewy body dementia, may wish to give the patient perspective for care partners caring for someone living with MCI in the caregivers group:
– Caregivers: Dementia https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/caregivers-dementia/
Your insights are valuable.
I have already looked into the first one and will check out the other one later one. Will be looking on my own for more information. I am also considering changing my neurologist. I think he does not know what to say to me so he tells things in few sentences and is ready to go out the door.
Your message reaaly resonates with me, since I too had brain shrinkage, mini strokes, hyperintensies, and a diagnosis of Mild Cognitive Impairment. However, the good news is that although I am still struggling cognitively, I have brought my score up to the point that I am no longer eligible for dementia drugs. My efforts are paying off!
Are you familiar with the book Memory Rescue, by Dr. Daniel Amen? I highly recommend it.
Have you looked into online brain training exercises? I have tried 3, and I think the best and most scientically supported is Brain HQ. I also like Lumosity. I use both.
Changing our neurologist sounds like a really good idea!
I have checked him out previously and in a fraud checket and it stated that there is too little evifdent to support his conclusions. I want to make sure that science supports it before I try it.
This is so helpful. Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems today.
Jenn Henry, caregiver
Helpful, but late for me. Caregiver.
Doctors seem to give a so called diagnosis if my husband has some brain disturbance but that is it. So we go home and everything is stays quo. As time goes on his disturbance becomes my disturbance and I become irritated with his so many things he does or doesn’t do. Had the doctor counseled us both at the time and as time went on about the kindness part and also the family it would have helped me at least, the caregiver. The family needs counseling as soon as possible. This brain problem of any kind needs all the family on board. I understand some family members can be skeptical but hearing from his doctor would help. My husband still after 3 years of having a doctor tell us MCI but he is sleeping up to 19 hours in a 24 hr period
I sympathize with your situation. My close friend's husband was in a downward trend from MCI into more serious dementia during Covid. She was very fortunate to be in a close-knit tiny community with many friends who "got it" and could help her, but when they went home in Spring was very isolated. All caregiver support was shut down in her rural area, and her kids didn't understand.
Do you know if there are any support groups for family and caregivers near you? Usually the doctor or staff have some information, but if not, you could contact your County or State Senior services, or even a nearby senior center.
Also, does your husband have other health issues? The amount of sleep seems high for a diagnosis of MCI, but a lot of meds could be contributing to sleepiness. Is he able to be active at all when awake?
Do you have help and support from your family or friends? If not, what do you need to get started on talking to them to let them know how difficult this situation is? When people ask "How are things?" do you say "Fine" or do you share even a little of what you are dealing with?