Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Breaking Barriers



Aging is something that happens to everyone, we all like to think that we will age gracefully and without any real cause for concern, but we never really know what is down the road or around the proverbial corner as it may be, but one thing is for sure, growing old happens to the very best of us.

My Granddad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's a few year ago, and although it has progressed slowly, it is now coming to the point where he needs additional care. There are days when he is really lucid and he is having a good day, but there are equally days where he forgets almost everything because his short term memory has gone right out of the window. He lives alone in a residential home, they have wardon's between certain hours, but my good old Grampy likes to take himself off on long walks and he often gets himself lost. 

There have been instances where he has taken himself out for walks in the middle of the night and been found near where he used to live. He reluctantly sold the house he used to live in with his wife, because the sensible option was to move into a more sheltered home, but he never did accept that the house was gone and unfortunately thanks to his not so great memory, he wound back up there more times than I can remember. In fact when the new owners came to visit the property, they spoke to him about what they hoped to do with the garden, and my Granddad told them 'I would be more than happy to hire you to complete the work!' as he had forgotten that they were actually buying his home.

It's really sad to watch someone who was always so on the ball, so switched on to suddenly have their mind start to fail them. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for him. He laughs it off the best he can, but I know inside it must be really hard on him, especially now he is also suffering from other health problems that are stopping him looking after himself in the way he is accustomed.

It has come to the point where the family are now looking into additional care and Bathing Solutions for him, as he is struggling with bathing himself and personal care these days. Ultimately we need to know that he is safe and in an environment that there are trained people around him, to help him should he need it. My Granddad is as stubborn as they come (I have recently discovered where my own stubborn streak must have originated from), and even when he has had help coming into the home, he will do absolutely everything before they arrive so that they don't have to do anything, because in his mind he is demonstrating that he doesn't need the extra assistance.  

It's sad to watch little bits of his personality fading away, watching the light in him loose some of it's glow, but he's still with us and sharing his pearls of wisdom. The beautiful thing is, that his long term memory is still incredible, and he has some fantastic stories to tell, stories that only he can. In 2016 people are living so much longer than before, and for one of the first times in history the senior generation is surpassing that of the youth, with those 65+ accumulating to 15.6% of the global population by 2050! 

Older generations are living longer due to advances in the healthcare system and standards of living have improved, which of course means that the life span for us all becomes longer. It begs the question though, 'why does society often cast off it's seniors as 'incapable' or 'unable' to learn new skills?'

Bathing Solutions are running Breaking Barriers, a campaign that aims to break these social barriers, because times really are changing, and it's high time that our mindsets changed too. It's time to break down the stigma that we have built up and actively encourage one another to get inspired and keep learning!

I like to think that my own Granddad is #BreakingBarriers in his own way, and really he is. Underneath everything that is going on with him at the moment, he still loves a good joke, and you just try to keep him from doing what he likes, when he likes! 

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