Time Blindness: A Dementia Caregiver’s Story

“A good time occurs precisely when we lose track of what time it is.”  ~Robert Farrar Capon

Recently my husband’s brother-in-law got married to an amazing woman and they had the most beautiful outdoor reception. A little tent, tables, food, beverages, cake and lots of family members. It was a merry and grand event. While mingling and meeting people at this event I got to talking to the bride’s daughter and she has recently started working as a support person for seniors with dementia. She spends most of the day with just one person. I was curious and asked what that kind of care looks like. She said that it involves hanging out with the client and making sure they eat, take medications, get up and exercise, go to the bathroom and a bunch of other little things. She mentioned that when she leaves the room and re-enters that she needs to explain who she is again, as her client has forgotten.

I realized, as she was talking, that what she was describing was extreme time blindness. Her client had almost no connection to time. I would bet that one of her medications was to cause her to go to sleep at a somewhat regular time. It is one thing for me to have some time blindness and be late for meetings and misjudge the amount of time it takes to get something done; it is a whole other thing to be only in this present moment. Little or no past and no future. Very interesting.

I shared my insight with the lovely woman I was talking with and told her that I saw her job as representing ‘time’ for this person. She had never thought of it like that. I talked a little about time blindness and explained about how this client could teach her about being present in the moment.

I know that one of the only reasons people are talking about time blindness and knowing as much as they do about it right now is because of the work they are doing to learn about it in people with dementia. Until that moment, I had never thought about what it might look like to have almost no tether to time and its connection to dementia.

It seems like we always talk about dementia as forgetting things, from now on I am going to associate it more to being without connection to time.

What would be good for you to disconnect from in your past and maybe even your future? 

I can think of some worries and some regrets I carry with me that I could and should let go of.



JoyGenea Schumer
Business Owner, International Neurodiversity Coach, and Speaker

Leave a Reply