This morning I was up early, knowing I, like millions of Canadians will be watching this morning as Ukraine President Zelensky address our Parliament. What Russia is doing with the invasion of Ukraine is beyond comprehension for the most part, no matter how hard we try we cannot fathom what the people of Ukraine are enduring. They are showing us all what resilience is, what being devoted to your, having pride in your country is.
It also does not fall from my mind that Canada borders Russia to our North, and how valuable our north is for all of us here in Canada.
But as I sit and wait for the address to happen, I can’t help but think about all the trauma the people and children of Ukraine have and are being subjected too. We recently discussed at one of our meetings, how trauma and dementia are connected, we discussed a book, “Emotional Inheritance” Author, Galit Atlas, PhD. Today I was thinking a lot about this Emotional Inheritance in relation to all the people of Ukraine. Will the trauma mean in years to come, more instance of Dementia, what can be done to help ensure that whatever can be done to help people with the mental health side of the trauma’s they are having thrust on them. And I wonder and think about how many of us with different types of Dementia can trace perhaps a connecting piece that is based in trauma.
I understand that there is so much more to think about at this time. But understanding how trauma impacts people with Dementia, may be a way to help those in late stages, understanding the traumas they have faced and that sometimes what is considered behaviour issues are actually that something triggered a memory of a traumatic event or time, it requires more understanding, not more medication, learning how to best manage those triggers. So yes there is deeper issues around this attack on Ukraine, but we need to remember even many of our people in care at the moment will be having triggers because of this war. Every care home, needs to ensure that discussion happens in a safe and caring environment, and just because people have dementia that they cannot and should not have this addressed and discussed.
Watch for those things which may indicate, that it is effecting them, mood changes, eating habits different, sleep patterns, and yes behaviour patterns, more pacing, more fidgeting, more anxiety. Shut the TV’s off that are constantly running in the care facility’s, yes I know, I know, the workers want to know and keep an eye on whats going on, set up a room for their breaks, where they can see the latest news, and a quiet room for those who cannot take it in. But do not allow it to flood the rooms and hallways of residents. Set a time to have staff to watch with them have conversations, some will want to some will not, this is a good time to have extra activities for them. Many in care have lived through wars and depressions, they will feel the weight of it, even if they can’t express it. So please please pay attention.
For me the Emotional Inheritance, comes with memories of my mother, grandmother and Uncle, who all lived and endured world war 11, in Germany. Hearing my mother remind us that we should never think that it can’t happen here, because it can, listening to her talk about the fire balls that rolled through the house because of bombs, the hunger, and so much more. So I am very much aware of how rich our country is in natural resources, how Russia is on our doorstep and that we all need to be aware that what happens in Ukraine can and will impact us for a great time, and we should not be so arrogant to think that war can not befall on us as well. We must give extra consideration to our elders, who may be having many emotional feelings over this invasion. So whether they are in a care facility or not, whether they have dementia or not, let’s all be mindful.
We should not be frozen in fear, but we should be aware, we should think about how we can help within our own country. I have watched in the last number of months how fractioned our country has become. It saddens me, we have been and are one of the most free countries in the world, we have so much to be grateful for. I pray we can find our way out of all that is dividing us and we look to the people of Ukraine for inspiration.
I hope as we go about our day, we look for ways to help unite us.