In Sickness and in Health: Having a Partner with Dementia

Written by Active Minds on Wednesday the 30th of September 2015.

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In Sickness and in Health: Having a Partner with Dementia

A dementia diagnosis is always difficult – both for the person diagnosed and for the people who love them – but when the person diagnosed is your partner, feelings of worry and grief are often amplified.

If your partner has recently been diagnosed with dementia, it’s important to remember that there are plenty of things you can do to make life easier and more enjoyable both for your partner and for yourself. Here are some of the best hints and tips as testified to by hundreds of couples living with dementia around the UK.

Be Understanding

Coping with an increase in responsibilities and behavioural changes from your partner can feel overwhelming so an important first step is to research as much as you can about the condition. Having an understanding of how your partner might be feeling will make both communication and care much easier.

Keep Up Communication

People living with dementia can often lose confidence in themselves and become withdrawn. It can be easy to find yourself talking for them or over them when you socialise with others. In reality it’s far better for a person with dementia to be encouraged to talk about how they feel. Not only will this help you to understand your partner, it will help them to feel included and cared for. If medication or impairments are hampering communication physically, you may find communication aids helpful in keeping up a dialogue.

Seek Help

When your partner is diagnosed with dementia, it can be easy to feel solely responsible for their care or to not want to involve others in your private relationship. However it’s not always possible to take care of both your partner and yourself. Whether you want to turn to family, friends or professional carers, there are plenty of helpful options out there that can make life a little easier, even if it’s just talking about your own feelings over a cup of tea.

Maintain Your Relationship

A dementia diagnosis does not signal the end of your relationship. Although life may become harder as the condition progresses, it’s important not to worry about the future so much that you neglect to enjoy shared moments of happiness with your partner in the present. Focus on the positives of daily life. By taking the time to enjoy shared hobbies or reminiscence activities will help you focus on maintaining and strengthening your relationship together.