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Dementia and the Freedom to Choose

retired man choosing between classic and modern shoesMany of us resolve to make better choices each year, but not everyone has the freedom to do so.
Imagine having every decision throughout the day made for you. That’s the reality for many who live with dementia. From sunrise to sunset, most of their day has been decided for them—what to wear, when to eat, what to do. This loss of self-determination can be devastating.

“It’s the basic fabric of what makes our lives ‘ours’—our preferences, the things we enjoy, what makes our life worth living—all rolled into one. Without choice, life becomes a mere existence—a place of powerlessness and despair,” says Director of Life Engagement Clair Jameson. It is our job to restore that power to choose, however we can. “By doing so, we instantly elevate their feeling of control and return them to a sense of autonomy,” she notes.

Think about some simple choices you can give back to your loved one today. Green sweater or blue sweater? Scrambled eggs or over-easy? Andy Griffith or I Love Lucy? There are no wrong answers, but we must fulfill that basic need to make decisions every day. With appropriate cuing, almost anyone can make a simple choice. And that can go a long way to improving quality of life for both you and your loved one.