Personal outlook is one of the factors that determines the quality of life of a person. Personal outlook means our thoughts about ourselves, our situation, and our relationship with our surroundings. How one perceives oneself influences the quality of their lives. A positive personal outlook improves the quality of life while a negative outlook might lead to further deterioration of the quality of life.
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“Community Areas of Action” are frequently used places by the members of the community. These include businesses such as banks, post offices, local shops, and cafes. Also included in community areas are recreational facilities such as museums, parks, libraries, and gyms. Residents step out of their homes to enjoy community interaction that happens in these areas.
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Personal choices are seemingly small daily decisions – what do I want to eat today, what style statement will I make today, what books will I read tonight and so on. We cherish an environment that allows us to make personal choices. Persons with dementia are no different. When persons with dementia have a personal choice and control and influence over decisions about themselves, it improves their personal outlook and their emotional health.
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Finally, Jane decided to move closer to her daughter. After a diagnosis of dementia, Jane lived by herself at home for three months. She had to visit her specialist every month but the specialist was thirty miles away. Jane increasingly had a hard time figuring out the bus schedules and fares. Now that she moved to a new neighborhood, she was able to avail herself of various dementia-friendly services. Lisa, Jane’s befriender, would take Jane to church and market every Sunday. The specialist was only five miles away and Jane could take the bus that offered free rides for seniors.
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After spending a day at country fair, George, a person with dementia, was ready to take the bus home. Although George was diagnosed with dementia, he continued working at the factory where he had worked for last 15 years. He also continued to attend his church every Sunday and was always thankful for the support he was receiving to live his daily life.
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Rachel stood on the cross street trying to find the street name–a diagnosis of dementia did not stop Rachel from continuing with her life. Rachel had to adapt but she was happy that she was not confined to her home. As her neighborhood kept changing, and the old shops were replaced by the new ones, Rachel did find it difficult to navigate. Now she was at a cross street trying to locate the street name.
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Our family, neighbors, and friends who accompany us through ups and downs of life form our social network. Social network also includes our acquaintances from our neighborhoods e.g., uber drivers that we frequently share rides with, cashiers at various stores, cafe owners, staff at gym, doctors, and people we meet in various activity clubs. We look forward to our interactions with people in our social networks and our connection with our social network enriches our life.
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The availability of transportation is a critical factor for enabling community participation. For many persons with dementia, driving is still the primary method of transportation. Persons with dementia are able to drive safely as long as they are able to use their visuospatial skills effectively. Their judgment regarding what other drivers are doing, attention to road signs and responses may not be affected by dementia. Some persons with dementia limit their driving to familiar places, or during daytime or only in good weather.
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Jane had been living with dementia for the last three years–facing the challenges before her. So, when Jane’s befriender, Lisa, arrived on Saturday morning for a visit, Jane was delighted to see her. Lisa, a volunteer who helps persons with dementia conduct various activities, befriended Jane through a local befriending service.
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Jane did not want to see the results, but there she was waiting in her doctor’s office for her results. A week ago, Jane had taken a battery of neuropsychological testing which would help the doctor give her a diagnosis. She did not remember how she had performed on the test, but she knew the test did not feel good. When the doctor gave her a diagnosis of dementia, she was devastated. She felt as if her wonderful life had slipped from her in a moment. Jane did not know how could she manage her symptoms better. Jane left the doctor’s office sobbing.
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