December 21, 2009

Another Strayer University student essay

Thank you again to Strayer University's Professor Abramson and her Intro. to Sociology class for sharing their Losing Herbie essays. Below, Nakisha Patterson discusses the film and the devastating effects of dementia.

This reflection essay is about Herbie, an elderly man who is in the last stages of dementia. In this short film Herbie’s family focused on making his last days as productive as possible. As I reflected back on the film, the following three things stood out: living with dementia, caring for a loved one with dementia, and expressing feelings or emotions associated with elderly family members.

Three aspects to consider

Dementia is a cognitive disorder that deprives the mind and body by causing long term decline in cognitive function. This disease effect the ability to process thought patterns. In the short film, my thoughts of a person living with dementia made me feel sad. I felt sad, because the short film explained how Herbie’s life was before acquiring the disease and then living with the disease. Living with the disease really changed his life. Herbie went from; vibrant and smooth to not knowing what he was doing at times or where he was at.

Imagine caring for a person with dementia like Herbie, knowing him before and after the disease takes a hold of his body can be hard to deal with. One must be cared for, as though; they are an infant or in the beginning stage of life. Bathing, feeding, and assisting them with everyday tasks. Herbie forgot how to do everything, which; really affected his loved ones. In the video Herbie’s girlfriend was unable to handle this situation. Caring for him was too much for her to handle.

Dementia affects everyone associated with the patient including the grandchildren and the in-laws. It has to be hard, seeing your loved one deteriorate before your own eyes. The emotional roller coaster that his daughter went through, had to be very stressful. In the video, Herbie’s daughter had a tough time juggling; work, kids, husband, and her father Herbie. Sometimes she made herself sick, by stressing so much.

When it comes to feeling as though you are losing a loved one to dementia, it is important to remember the good times you had with them. Understand that things will change, and remember that this disease is out of their control. This video was put together, so that; one is able to determine how to care for a person with dementia and possible outcomes that might arise that effects everyone in the family, who attempts to care for family member with Dementia. It takes a lot of time and patience but most of all the love and passion that should never be lost.

- Nakisha Patterson