I have recently seen a question that asks if you consider yourself being disabled living with dementia. I think this is a really interesting question.
One of the meanings as in the English Oxford dictionary is:
Disabled: 1(of a person) having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses, or activities
Do I consider myself having a disability? Yes I do have a disability because I am now limited but not restricted in what I do. But the whole question of whether living with dementia is a disability is another question all together. Some would argue no, because it is a life limiting disease not a lifelong disease, but even that argument does not stand up, because there are other diseases such as MS (Multiple Sclerosis), or Anxiety and Depression that can be equally life limiting.
I think the difficulties lay with getting a diagnosis in the first place. Do you have a disability only when you have a diagnosis? It would seem so. Which brings me back to Dementia. Speaking for myself, I consider it to be a disability because I can no longer carry out my everyday life in the way I used to, mainly because my mental capacity to organise things is diminishing. Physically my body is not working like it should either as the signals and messages from my brain are getting more foggy. Mentally, I can go into a ‘meltdown’ where I need to shut down in peace and quiet, alone, when things get too much to process. So yes, I would consider myself to have a disability.
As I have said before I have two disabilities, but Dementia can mean the other is overlooked. Fibromyalgia for me means living with constant pain restricting my physical abilities. During a ‘flare up’ the pain and exhaustion is so intense throughout my body that I do very little other than sleep. Fibro ‘fog’ melds with dementia to shut me down for a week or however long it is. However, I may not tell anyone around me that I am in more pain than usual because I live with it daily
Does this stop me doing things? It slows me down certainly, but you can adjust your life to cope with it as much as you can. Disability is a noun and identifies what hinders me, but does not stop me.
Disability is a word to bear in mind only, for each and every person has their own abilities or disabilities.
As per usual, these are my views alone and are not necessarily definitive information.
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