He told them it may be dementia and that the condition takes many forms. He suggested that they should go to a hospital for help. The woman had difficulty in accepting his recommendation, believing her father was too young to have dementia.
The columnist mentions that being in complete control of our actions and living a responsible life in our youth is no guarantee that we will not have trouble once we get older. There are many reasons for the problems of our bodies and minds.
When he was working in a mental hospital, he would often hear the family and friends of patients mentioning that before the strange behavior appeared they were living a normal and productive life. No one can predict, he says, who will have dementia when they reach their seventies; in his experience persons who developed dementia, he agrees, most often lived a normal and productive life.
Dementia, often meaning a variety of mental conditions, can come to any of us. The columnist reminds us that there are many who live to a ripe old age and have no signs of dementia. Most of them, he says, lived unceremoniously, having a free and leisurely lifestyle, and not far removed from nature. But the key to keeping dementia away, he feels, is finding time for leisure and the absence of stress.
He hopes that the families with elders will make it easy for the older people to live informally, with an easy life style and with leisure and close to nature. This will enable the older people to have a contemplative approach to life, and the break with their surroundings that dementia signifies will be checked by those who are part of the older person's life.
It is not easy to talk in the vain in which our columnists writes for it seems to blame the person for what happens in the later years. In many cases this has nothing to do with what is happening, and yet since the columnist is speaking from his experience, which may not be that of many others, it is refreshing to hear what his experience has brought to his attention.