A diamond is rigid and inflexible, it is beautiful and shines brilliantly at times. So does a person with the beginning stages of dementia. They are absolute and unmoving on the fact that there is NOTHING wrong with them and that's because they don't realize that there is anything wrong at this point. Trying to convince them otherwise will instantly make you the bad guy. Arguing to prove your point or to try and "get them to remember" is futile. Often times, even those in their social circle may not realize there is a problem and this can work against you. A diamond still has the ability for what we call "social chit chat". The basic conversation skills that have been learned and used since a very young age. "Hello!" "How are you?" "I'm good." "How's the family?" These basic conversation pieces are easy for a diamond to recall and follow along with. As a family member however you challenge a diamond's memory and vocabulary recall and this is where you begin to notice there is a problem. Maybe you ask them about their most recent doctor visit and they become upset when they can't remember that they went or what they went for. This is when a diamond will become angry and respond with, "I don't know why you have to be so nosy. It's none of your business!" or something similar. Another sign to watch for is neglect of household chores or personal hygiene. You know your mother has always been a stringent housekeeper but lately you notice that the trash is overflowing or the dishes are beginning to collect in the sink. You notice that dad is still wearing the clothes that he had on two days ago. This is because personal hygiene and housekeeping can often times seem overwhelming for a diamond. You may also begin to find items in odd places, a shoe in the refrigerator, lipstick in the shower, or trash in the washing machine. And the last main characteristic is they have difficulty learning new tasks and retaining new information but they can still do what they've always done and they can tell old stories and not leave out a single detail. Mom cannot remember what the new grandbaby's name is, but she can still tell you about the time Johnny fell out of the apple tree. Dad can't remember what day it is or who the president is but he can still play dominoes and beat you every time! A diamond is multifaceted, complex and has many sides. This makes them both beautiful and frustrating to work with. Remember to keep your patience and to know your limits. Be willing to admit and recognize that you may not be the right person to care for them.

Tomorrow's Blog-Diamond-Stragtegies to avoid and strategies that work!

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