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Optimism and Dementia

"Optimism is Important in People who are going to move History Forward"

by Kate Swaffer

Having been nicknamed Smiley as a young school girl, I can attest to the power of optimism.

"Optimism is Important in People who are going to move History Forward"

I found this quote in an airline magazine recently, but forgot to write down who it comes from! Maybe Meryl Streep, but I’m not 100% sure!

Anyway, it resonated with me deeply, as I have been innately optimistic my whole life, even willing once to always see the best in people, although learned that lesson the hard way, for sure! I’ve always worked to be optimistic in spite of personal or serious health issues, and I really think it is important, along with resilience, both of which I believe everyone can develop if we are prepared to work on it.

DAI members will definitely attest to the fact that dementia is not for the faint hearted. I’m almost sure our families or care partners would say the same! It is one hell of a roller coaster of ups and downs, and takes a lot of effort to remain positive and optimistic, alongside increasing cognitive disabilities. For example quite a lot on it including on whether it is nature or nurture, on the value of resilience and humour when facing dementia, and on resilience and the human spirit. 

However, I’ve probably not written specifically on optimism here, apart from the power of positive psychology, which I am a great believer of.

We are all born with a death sentence.

Therefore, at least for me, being diagnosed with any disease or having a personal crisis is no reason to lay down and die! It is better to take some time out, lick my wounds if necessary, and then find a way to get back to living positively, in spite of whatever has happened, or what might be ahead. It is why I spend so much time and put in so much effort for DAI empowering others with dementia to to live with it, rather than go home to die from it via aged care, as we mostly all still being told to do.

#LivingBeyondDementia is definitely my motto!

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