Dementia and Friends: Just for Fun

What do you do for fun? Remember when, “back in the day,” children actually “played” with each other.

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Some of my favorite times were playing outside with friends who lived on my block. Blowing bubbles and chasing each other filled our time with exercise, fresh air and lots of fun.   We played softball in my next door neighbor’s yard, played jacks on her front porch (the concrete was smooth there, not rough like on my front porch), played hop scotch drawn with chalk on the sidewalk in front of my house, and spent endless hours playing Monopoly, Hide and Seek, and Red Rover.

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It didn’t seem to matter what we did, as long as I was “playing” with my friends.   Today, I don’t engage in those exact activities but I still love to be with friends, engaging in activities that I enjoy as an adult.  We were created to be social beings.

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Think of the quote, “No man is an island” which comes from a sermon by the seventeenth-century English author John Donne.  Most scholars interpret that quote to mean that we need friends!  I read of a study of people affected by dementia which found that over half (54%) were no longer taking part in any or hardly any social activities.  (February 26, 2017 post on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room website.)

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As Lady-Links, we have seen the joy that comes from our dear friends with dementia when we arrive for a visit, engaging them in activities that they enjoy.  Our friendship visit concept is such an easy one….Go visit a friend and do an activity with them that they like.  Isn’t that what we would want for ourselves?

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We’re not islands; rather, we are social beings.  Just because a person has dementia doesn’t mean that they suddenly become an “island.”  I am thankful for each Lady-Link who embraces that philosophy, recognizes the importance of friendships, and helps to make sure that our dear friends still have someone “to play with.”

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