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ANOTHER LOOK AT DEMENTIA
AND AT THE PRESERVATION OF YOUTH

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12) The mask

During Neurological tests, it is observed that people with dementia are inventing answers. Of course. An unconscious process takes place as from the first losses occur : the person masks her lacks. As this has become automatic, as well, and unconscious, this will lead that, even during a test, the person will proceed in the same way.

The masking of all those little missteps of the brain allows to dupe the entourage for a while. However, by relying on attitudes that will mask her oversights and missteps, the affected person now prevents herself from this point forward from reacting to it constructively. Yet, this attitude will become an automatism itself, and will finally dupe the person affected herself. When the illness will really be establishing, she will get lost in the maze of of her own lies. This will unfortunately help the entourage to discredit her, whereas she doesn't necessarily have lost all her mental abilities. This is then a vicious circle that takes place between the sick person and her entourage.

The masking has also as effect that people with dementia don't complain or very few. When something goes wrong, they are used to do as if nothing had happened. And so, sometimes, even when they remember an abuse, they prefer to keep a low profile and stay quiet. And this also works in mirror : the relatives, nursing staff, caregivers, also have habits of behavior with the person affected, that, in the long term settle in the form of automatisms, because, whatever their behavior, there will be no negative reaction in order to stop them. It is not uncommon to see a spouse or a nursing staff being aggressive with a person with dementia, without even realizing it, just out of habit, as they haven't found any other way to handle certain situations and that they are not conscious that, even though the person they are dealing with has no longer the same cognitive abilities, she remains humanly complete and suffer from this aggressiveness just as much as any other person, and sometimes even much more, for, she doesn't understand the reason for this, and she is powerless in order to respond to it correctly. And those abuses, although automatic, are subtle enough to not be used in the presence of other persons. These are semi-conscious mechanisms.

Unfortunately, supervision cannot be constant in retirement homes, and especially in secure floors, and those abuses are common, everywhere. Quality continuing education would reduce this trend. Yet, work conditions being far from optimal in most retirement homes (now become most of the time real commercial enterprises) indirectly stimulate those abuses.
When doing such work by necessity and not by vocation (vocations not being usual), when the job is not well paid, when there are lack in training, when there is stress, staggered working hours, physical and psychological tiredness inherent to the tasks, and often too a deficient staff management; it becomes logical that working with motivation and humanity and showing empathy are bonuses that happen not that often. The spectacle of secure floors in retirement homes being hard to face for visitors; they are more rare than in other services, allowing misconducts and abuses less visible, which ones will never be denounced by those who endure them.

D) Acting to prevent

Acting to prevent and face the memory diseases has therefore to be done when the will and the ability to put it into action are still possible, and the sooner the better. Then it's from childhood that we have to consider the building of our mental. Once the first symptoms are well established, it becomes useless to still force a person to recover and to ask her to make painful efforts for vain gains. At a certain stage of the disease, it seems that the persons are reluctant when they are asked to train their memory. They probably have the lucidity of the scale of the task, at a loss, and for which the effort has become a real suffering. It is therefore from a very early age that learning to manage memory and thoughts must intervene.

1) Acting on thoughts

Education as it exists in Europe and probably everywhere else, doesn't offer anything in this sense. The child, from his birth never receives training in order to teach him to "think" or to manage thoughts that cross his mental.

To reason is not to think. Mathematics, philosophy, argumentation, are teachings that deal with the way of reasoning. Reasoning is only a portion of thinking. Just as language and communication are only a partial reflection of our thoughts. However, if language courses (mother tongue or other) are taught at school, we are not even at the stage of providing simple communication courses.

Henceforth, apart during meditation or relaxation's moments, from the moment of waking up til falling asleep, all of us, think as we breathe, without being truly master of our thoughts. Every meditator knows that. And the growing success of meditation tends to show that it is likely that humanity has reached a level of evolution where every human will begin to learn to manage his thoughts. This could change the face of the World. The process will be huge, and much more important than the appearance of language or writing. But this may well happen within one or two generation(s). The emergency situation of destroying our own living environment is going to force us to do it.

And as already mentioned, digitalization, or the use of artificial intelligence, will prove very quickly problematic for those who tend too much to delegate their own abilities outside of themselves. In a certain way, some developments in those areas appear already outdated, not from a technological point of view, but from a human point of view.

In this context, we could utterly consider that dementia is a civilization disease too, as well as cancer, diabetics, obesity. If this would turn out to be true, it could potentially disappear, not thanks to medication that stopped the symptoms or progress of the process (which doesn't mean that they would be useless), but much more because the process of losing the control of the will on the thought could then be avoided.

2) Acting on memory

On the other hand, if we don't learn to manage our thoughts, we don't learn to use our memory either, except in the relatively limited context of school learning, which all too often consists in repeating information as a parrot, but without any real working method.
It looks like the "every man for himself", or even total anarchy, in this field. School gives us a partial framework, dividing lessons, creating chapters, but, once launched in active life, we will memorize on a much less organized way, rather depending on our experiences. But most people don't choose their experiences. For the most part, they are a bit forced to take what comes. A higher sociocultural level may help but not necessarily. Thus, they store learning anarchically, and memorize it without much organizing.

3) Need to act before the onset of symptoms

If it is possible to detect some forms of dementia quite early, it is because the decline process of memory starts very early. If it is estimated that at the age 35, we have only 5% of our thoughts left that we can consciously choose, it means that at this age are already largely defined the paths and the rapidity with which this percentage will still further decrease.
Still today, research for medication treatments in order to stop or restrain those illnesses remains in full swing. I think this search can take a while. Memory diseases are, for most of them, the consequences of mental processes that take place over decades. No medication will ever stop them, once the symptoms have become obvious. We can at most boost some mental abilities in order to slow down the process. It is not a question of curing dementia, nor of curing of old age. It's a question of preventing it and its development, or to slowing it down once it's fully declared.

It is by learning to manage our mental, and this, from our birth, that we are preparing to keep all our abilities much longer. This represents a considerable amount of work in order to find out how to achieve it optimally if we accept the idea that quasi-random education by parents, quasi-random experiences of life, and schooling such as we know today : are in no way the most appropriate ways to get there. And conversely, if we succeed in developing methods to learn how to manage them very early, the efficiency of all those educational aspects will be multiplied exponentially.

 

 

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CHANGING ONESELF

TO CHANGE THE WORLD

Spanish English Original and complete website in French - about translation