Stopping ‘social death’
WHAT makes dementia one of nature’s cruellest diseases is that those afflicted often fade out of the world long before they die.
Mounting feelings of confusion and embarrassment lead to withdrawal and those living with dementia retreat into a quiet but devastatingly lonely shell.
Michael Verde, founder of the global Memory Bridge program, is dedicated to putting an end to that emotional isolation.
A renowned speaker and dementia educator based in Texas, Mr Verde is returning to Perth for three free sessions on dementia hosted by the City of Melville in partnership with Alzheimer’s WA and Attitudinal Healing.
“Memory Bridge’s sole concern is to bridge love into the lives of people with dementia so that they do not experience a social death before their biological one,” he said.
“Recent research concludes that being emotionally isolated affects one's health more negatively than does smoking and its impact is equivalent to the impact of one's diet.
“If companionship improves the biological health (of someone living with dementia) all the better. But if being loved does not extend the life of a person with dementia, or enhance her memory, or im-
prove her scores on the minimental exam – it wouldn't matter in the least bit to Memory Bridge’s mission.
“We are into creating the kinds of joy and even, if need be, moments of shared sadness – that give our life meaning.”
Mr Verde believes that outside of a cure, the most vital need for people living with dementia and their loved ones is real emotional connection.
Registrations essential via melvillecity.com.au/michaelv erde or on 9364 0666.