Hakuna Matata: My Alzheimer’s Mantra

Disney Animal Kingdom 2019

“Hakuna Matata what a wonderful phrase. Ain’t no worries for the rest of my day. It’s a problem free philosophy, Hakuna Matata”.

We just spent two days at Disney World, which is my happy place. We are annual pass holders so we get to visit several times a year. This was my first visit since I was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and I have a whole new appreciation for this place and the joy it brings to so many.

Hakuna Matata really needs to be my mantra. This whole Alzheimer’s situation is out of my hands, and I really just need to give it to God and trust that he will handle it for me. Worrying and fretting will get me nowhere quickly and will just steal my joy. I can’t allow this to happen.

Do I worry? Do I get down on the dumps and depressed. Every once in awhile I have a good cry, but usually I keep those unproductive thoughts at bay. I have too much living to do. So much I want to see and do. So much to be grateful for.

Alzheimer’s may eventually steal my mind and my memories but I am not letting it happen soon. I am going to fight with every ounce of energy I can. Depression and anxiety are two symptoms of this disease, both of which I thankfully have not suffered from throughout my life and I am going to do everything I can to keep it from consuming me. Things I can do to help: exercise, excellent nutrition, socialize, and sleep well. Be grateful for all the good things in my life and don’t fret about the bad things.

Life is not always easy. But life is good and I am beyond grateful.

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7 thoughts on “Hakuna Matata: My Alzheimer’s Mantra

  1. Great article. This is my first time reading your blog. I agree with everything you say but would like to offer some advice for “planning” (which is something that early diagnosis helps). My first year or two after diagnosis, I was extremely active with the Alz Assoc, and spoke at fundraisers and my family/friends raised money for the walk (we won two years in a row for the most money raised and the plaques are proudly displayed at my old company), traveled to Tallahassee to meet with legislators to lobby for funding, and even went to the National Dinner in DC. It helped me feel like I was fighting. It helped a lot. The third thing in your list of things that help (socialize) is extremely important. But, ironically, the one that is the hardest to do when the disease progresses. I didn’t plan very well for that. I no longer can drive. It became unsafe for me to live alone so I sold my home and now live with daughter and teenage grandson. But, she works and he’s a junior in HS so rarely home (also lives half the week with his Dad). With Early Onset, most of your peers are younger and still working. And while they were very “involved” with me in the beginning, over the past few years they faded away. I now spend my days alone all day with absolutely no social interaction all day. Most nights too except for dinner with my daughter and grandson. Because I no longer drive, I’m stuck here all day. As we all know, that is the worst thing for this disease and I find depression hitting me hard because of the loneliness day after day. People who used to take you places with them become less and less “available”. I know it’s hard for people to watch anyone with a disease get worse, etc. so I try to understand why people eventually pull away. To make it worse, I was a very social person before and miss being with people. Most will have one or two friends who stay loyal and drive over to see you or take you out. But nothing regular. They are essentially young and still work so it’s understandable. The “senior” centers in the area are just that, very senior and just didn’t work. Actually depressed me more. So my advice: plan for that. Even if you are married, plan for the day you don’t drive and all those activities you used to take for granted are gone. I did Uber in the beginning but that doesn’t work now for a variety of reasons (cost is only one). Ironically, when you need the socialization the most, you may find it difficult keeping social down the road. In my case, I wouldn’t have moved closer to friends, not further away. But planning on how to keep socially active down the road is needed just as much as planning for the financial aspect long term too. I look forward to reading more of your blogs! Good work.

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    1. Thank you, Robin. Yes, I am well aware of these concerns. My Mom had Alzheimer’s and all of her friends abandoned her, and very few family members came to visit her. Fortunately for me, my husband and I are both retired, and he is here for me as is my sister in law. Additionally we live in a golf community that is very sociable and so far they seem very accepting of my situation. I am not naive though, and I realize that as my disease progresses I will scare people or it will be depressing for them to be around me. I am trying to stay very social and active to try to slow down the progression. Also, I am accustomed to not driving….my husband does most of the driving for me (for another reason). I have been walking for the ALZ Association for 5 years and have now become a Community Outreach Rep and have my first outing this weekend helping them. I think when the time comes that my social engagements diminish for me, it will cause me to be depressed because I am a very social person, and always upbeat. I pray this doesn’t happen for quite awhile. Take care of yourself. Hope to see you at our meetings soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Kelly and Robin. Tru here. Personally, my socializing is all done with webcam on the computer monitor. I cannot drive any more and there are no local gatherings within 3hrs travel time. I also appreciate Less distraction with noise and body movement, Between Dementia Mentors, Dementia Action Alliance (for USA), Dementia Alliance International, etc, i have one, two, or three video gatherings with peers — per day, and texting groups among us are also plentiful. See schedule at the bottom of my latest blog entry for THIS week’s schedule. >> https://truthfulkindness.com/2019/10/14/2019oct-dementia-mentors/

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    1. Thank you for commenting. This is awesome. I am going to share your blog on some of the ALZ groups I belong to on Facebook. This may be helpful to so many. Also, I am in touch with a lady who would like to do some video blogs with people with ALZ/dementia. If you are interested let me know. I will be doing one and you can watch it and if you want to do it I can put you in contact with her.

      Liked by 1 person

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