The loneliness pervades

Commentary: With dementia there are no right answers or easy solutions. This is the story of my grandmother.

Johanna Celo is 89 years old. She is struggling with dementia and the loss of identity that accompanies it. She lives alone and is visited by her family every day, but during the hours spent by herself, the loneliness pervades. Johanna's story is my story. She is my grandmother.

Aging is one of today's greatest concerns. It is a rite of passage that can be both emotionally painful and confusing to the patients and caregivers. A century ago the life expectancy was about 48 years; today it's close to 80. Half of those older than 85 -- the fastest-growing segment of our population -- need help managing their lives.

Dementia affects more than 35.6 million people worldwide. It is the loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. It affects memory, thinking, language, judgment and behavior. People living with dementia must not only deal with psychological isolation but also social isolation.

With dementia there are no right answers or easy solutions. Johanna lives at home by her own choice, but can no longer successfully care for herself. Over the past seven years family members have made up her group of caregivers , but by living herself she is isolated for most the day. The social isolation that she feels is taking a major toll on her. She no longer remembers how to complete activities are were once second nature and your boredom is leading to depression

While we try to follow her wishes, we question if living by herself is hurting her more than helping, or if there is any answer

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