Apart from afflictions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, ageing means the inevitable bodily deterioration and inability to care for oneself. When the time comes, Cat intends to bear life’s end in an un-Asian way.
With my husband celebrating a milestone birthday, I suddenly realised that it would be me, too, in a few years’ time! Although 50 is the new 30, I still don’t feel ready to embrace the fact that old age is descending upon us.
Ageing is a very depressing process; thankfully, these days one’s appearance can be fixed to a certain extent. But sadly our body parts can’t be fixed quite so easily! I am very fortunate that my mother, who is 80 years old, is still extremely healthy — both mentally and physically. I can only pray that I will be just like her when I am that age. Two of the most terrifying old age dilemmas are dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. I have friends who are dealing with parents suffering from one or the other, and it’s no question that dealing with these issues can be so tough and complicated.
I used to think dementia and Alzheimer’s were the same thing, but I’ve learned that they are different. Dementia is actually a symptom of Alzheimer's disease. When someone is told they have dementia, it means that they have significant memory problems as well as other cognitive difficulties. When someone has dementia, these problems are severe enough to get in the way of daily living. Dementia is the gradual deterioration of mental functioning, such as concentration, memory and judgment, each of which affects a person’s ability to perform normal daily activities.
Alzheimer's disease is a physical illness that causes radical changes in the brain. As healthy brain tissue degenerates, persons suffering from Alzheimer's experience a steady decline in memory and the ability to use their brain to perform tasks.
In a rather un-Asian manner, I have told my children that should I ever become a burden to them, I will be very happy to check into a home for old people. Traditional Asians don’t send their elderly parents to care homes, as it is considered unfilial by society. As a consequence, there are no professionally run care homes in Bangkok or in many other Asian cities. I just hope someone here will build a state-of-the-art care home where one day some of us may need to check ourselves in!
23/07/2012 - 10:55