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Featured Dementia as an alternative "neurotype"

Discussion in 'General Autism Discussion' started by GadAbout, Dec 4, 2019 at 12:16 PM.

  1. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    My husband (who has early-stage Alzheimer's) and I are active at our local senior center. We attend exercise class three days a week as well as other events.

    I try to smile warmly at others in our exercise class and say good morning, even though I don't know most people's names. My husband, who is more sociable than me, often gets into discussions with other participants before or after the class. We all ride the same elevator and often have lunch or coffee in the lunchroom.

    Being congenial and helpful with elderly people is an exercise in accepting the humanity of those who have lost some of their brain cells or connections due to aging. I think it is fair to view it as an alternative neurotype, just like autism, ADHD, and TBI (traumatic brain injury).

    When you accept and connect with others who are neurodiverse, you also grow in acceptance of yourself.

    Do any of you work with the elderly, or interact with them often? How does it make you feel?
     
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  2. AuBurney Tuckerson

    AuBurney Tuckerson ~GigglesTheAutisticHyena~

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    I wouldn't count dementia and traumatic brain injury as a neurotype. A neurotype is the way the brain developed in the womb, a type of brain you're born with that doesn't change. Loss of brain cells or injury is something that's caused outside the womb. You can't really change a neurotype (unless idiots who are trying to "cure" autism actually find a way to do so and make us neurotypical). But dementia/althzeimers and injury wouldn't really count as a neurotypicals because as althzeimers is deterioration of the brain cells/systems (I think) and injury is damage to the brain, autism and ADHD are the way the brain functions/is wired as you develop before birth. Also, I don't think the elderly are losing their brain cells unless you mean close to death or brain conditions that cause brain cells to die.

    I hope I didn't say anything offensive. I'm just stating what I know. But I know someone who's oversensitive is going to criminalize me.
     
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  3. Aspychata

    Aspychata My Art Work

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    Think you did a pretty good job explaining *stuff*.

    My job has me around people with different levels of cognitive decline. But l notice two females who were very socially withdrawn for two totally different reasons, they light up and smile when l come around. They have good days and bad days like all of us. But l still take time to connect with them and make a difference.
     
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  4. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    I don’t see dementia as a different neurotype, because it’s the result of degeneration instead of different wiring.
    Anyway I used to work with the elderly a lot when I was working in a hospital and during my internships. I very much enjoy interacting with them. I usually prefer elderly people to middle aged or my own age. There’s just something about many of them that makes me feel happy when interacting. Maybe it’s that they have the time to interact and are more often polite than people from different age groups. And in my experience they’re more likely to be grateful when I put a lot of effort into doing something for them, go the extra mile, so to speak, while younger people seem to take it for granted more often. It’s just more pleasant to interact with the elderly, to me.
     
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  5. Sarah S

    Sarah S Well-Known Member

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    I can only add i agree with the above statement 101 % and i can also add Alzimers are among the worst possible faith a human being can be cursed with as its liturally youre own brain that slowly at first and faster as the time goes deteriating and the rest of youre body slowly dies due to the brain being more and more atacked by the plack that develop and attacks youre brain ((not even the meds can stop this only give you a few years longer before things finaly just stops working and you leave earth.

    I should add my mother is in her late stages of her Alzimers and she has sufferd EMENSLY from this curze ever since she got diagnosed at 65 :(:(:(:( I rather die then having to go thru this and i know mom said the same in hoping she would die before the illness have gone to far

    Alzimers is Bacikly ASD 3 with ALL added co morbid diagnosis and severe on all of them X 1000 :(
     
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  6. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    Being around the elderly makes me deeply contemplative and introspective. It always makes me wonder how I would conduct myself if my mental faculties were reduced.

    I have seen elderly people who are just plain mean, cantankerous, and angry at everything. I've also seen senile people who couldn't remember what happened five minutes ago or recognize their grandchildren, but who were the happiest and most considerate people I've met.

    In my completely unqualified, non-medical opinion, I think that senility doesn't change people, but it takes away their social filters that they put on to get around in society. What is left is the core of the person - you see who they really are.

    This terrifies me. Seriously. Without any hyperbole or exaggeration, the thought of senility absolutely terrifies me.

    I work hard to moderate my language, my comments, and my behaviors. I consciously work to be kind, compassionate, and professional. What will I be when my social filters are removed? I know that, over time, practiced behaviors can become habit and second nature - we can change our inner nature. I just hope I have enough time to do so.
     
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  7. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    You can't ask for a better compliment than that.
     
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  8. Bolletje

    Bolletje Potato chip wizard V.I.P Member

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    Most people in my family live to a very old age without major health concerns and with their full mental faculties. I’m hoping that will happen for me too.
    But if I do develop dementia, I hope that by the time my filters are gone and I scare people off, I’ll be far gone enough cognition-wise not to notice and/or remember.
     
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  9. Sarah S

    Sarah S Well-Known Member

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    In my case i had to step down from my mother and let the pro´s take over as my diagnosis somehow Clash to heres + as im so uncomfortable around seeing my once so VERY strong and kompetent mother (Bacikly my everything in life .without her support & unconditional love i wouldent be here today id be gone simple as that ) being transfomed to this stage i just cant bare to see her like this :( (i should add its also on the doctors wishes as well for both our sake )

    what we all have to keep in mind is thats its their is diagnose that mess with everything and even tho they are aggressive or acting out its still not volontary.
     
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  10. Sarah S

    Sarah S Well-Known Member

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    Sadly same over here us wimen grow old and develop Alzimers :( from what i have understood from my moms struggle its more similar to in our case of acepting our diagnose and rather then trying to fight against it try to work with it and accept the fact that things are gonna be different and you WILL be more and more dependent on other help. eventually yes you go in to the " happy " stage were youre so far gone you no longer struggle to accept youre illness but sadly youre also then on youre way to leave this earth within a certain time .

    In short its NOT the actuall Alzimers that kills you its the underlaying upcoming illness from infektions or things like that who will take you away :(
     
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  11. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

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    I'll not comment on this from a personal perspective for... reasons.
    What I will point out is that Judy Singer, the "mother" of neurodiversity, who first described the concept and coined the term in the early 90s, regards dementia as being as valid in the neurodiversity stakes as any other quirk of neurology, and describes it as such in her still-being-written book on Neurodiversity 2.0
     
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  12. Sarah S

    Sarah S Well-Known Member

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    It is sadly referd to the Relatives' illness and i most defently agree on that :(
     
  13. AuBurney Tuckerson

    AuBurney Tuckerson ~GigglesTheAutisticHyena~

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    ASD level III is not like dementia or althzeimers. People with level III ASD aren't necessarily dementic or low functioning. They just stims more often and can't speack verbally. They can be vocal and communicate through typing/sign language as I've seen in videos and blogs (look at Fathering Autism for sign language).
     
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  14. AuBurney Tuckerson

    AuBurney Tuckerson ~GigglesTheAutisticHyena~

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    I don't think I've met or interacted with someone with those problems like dementia or althzeimers.
     
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  15. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    I was going to comment as a old person, but I can't because I am middle aged. I have every intention of living to be 146 years old.
     
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  16. Tom

    Tom Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I think one could refer to it as a neurotype, but it doesn't really tell you anything just to say someone is neuro-diverse. It should be something informative/useful. But I don't like the term Dementia and think it needs replacing. It is not a specific term as it can refer to different conditions that affect the brain function and has picked up a negative association as the term 'demented' is used to describe things that have nothing to do with actual dementia.
     
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  17. Jenisautistic

    Jenisautistic Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    im sorry to hear about your mother my friend :(

    my grandmothers sister had it

    i felt terrible for the both of them

    my grandmother and her sister use to call each other every week until she got sick

    lucky my grandmother is well and very sharp

    it is very unfortunate how she lost her sister to this in such a horrible way


    she was very sick but my grandmother says luckily she wasn't in pain

    and i beive she died in her sleep

    but it is still awful and horrific





    when you said it it like asd 3 with commodities and severe i agree with nearly 100%

    i also agree that it is one of the most horrible fates imaginable
     
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  18. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    Whether or not dementia is a structural neurotype, from the standpoint of how to interact with such people, I think there are many similarities. For instance:

    1. Take the person as they are, instead of trying to change them.
    2. Try to see what approaches work best for them, instead of trying to force everyone into one mold.
    3. Be aware of areas of sensitivity, whether upset feelings (e.g. when reminded that the patient's loved one died long ago) or sensory issues (chaotic situations, etc.)
    4. Never, ever put the person down for being different. They already feel challenged enough.
    5. To the extent possible, involve them in choices and decisions regarding their own situation.
     
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  19. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    That varies from person-to-person. My 25yo daughter's cognitive functions are those of a perfectly healthy 18mo.
     
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  20. GadAbout

    GadAbout Well-Known Member

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    Actually, Alzheimers does kill you if you don't die of something else first. It's a slow, awful death. Not only will you lose the ability to communicate and understand what's going on, you lose your ability to recognize people. You become unable to use your body, usually becoming totally bedridden. You lose all control of bodily functions, whether excretory or ingestive. You not only can't feed yourself, but become unable to swallow food. At that point, you waste away and die.

    This is one reason why many people sign an advance directive asking to have no life-extending measures be taken. Most other ways to die are quicker and less miserable than dying of dementia.
     
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