A person with Huntington's disease usually– but not always– has a genetic disorder, and not everyone with that disorder will be affected in the same way. While some with Huntington's will lose ability to move and speak, not all experience the same symptoms or develop every symptom. By strengthening our immune systems we can often avoid "worst case scenarios."
We live in a time where medical research into what causes a disease is often successful, and sometimes we can learn how to sidestep ravaging diseases.
For example, scientists have learned that pesticides are culprits in memory loss and dementia.
As we all grow older, we can do our best to avoid things that are known causes of dementia, many that we have looked at in this series. And when loved ones develop those symptoms and conditions, we can help them to cope.
Here are some thoughts on "coping":
It's funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools — friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty — and said "do the best you can with these, they will have to do." And mostly, against all odds, they do.
- Anne Lamott
If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options.
You can climb it and cross to the other side.
You can go around it.
You can dig under it.
You can fly over it.
You can blow it up.
You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there.
You can turn around and go back the way you came.
Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home.”
- Vera Nazarian
If you are helping a loved one with dementia to live well despite the downsides, we salute you.
Let us know if you liked this series on "Getting older and memory."