Written by Active Minds on Friday the 15th of September 2017.
Finding out your loved one has been diagnosed with dementia is a difficult experience; coming to terms with the changes in your loved one, both regarding their loss of independence and the change in their personality, as well as dealing with the impact the diagnosis can have on you and your family. However, it is important to remember that despite the condition and the sometimes challenging periods, looking after a loved one with dementia is incredibly rewarding and can bring huge amounts of joy to your life.
Here are some things that are important to remember if you love someone with dementia:
Dementia is Not a Death Sentence
Whilst a dementia diagnosis can be devastating it is not a death sentence, and you may still have plenty of time with your loved one – try and savour this time.
Take Care Of Yourself
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be exhausting, so it is important that you take some time for yourself, emotionally and physically. You might also want to think about joining a carers support group so you have people who understand your situation and who you can reach out to for advice and guidance.
Your Loved One is More Than Their Dementia Diagnosis
Whilst coming to terms with a diagnosis can be all consuming, try to look past your loved one’s dementia and remember the person underneath the diagnosis still exists.
Speech is Not The Only Way To Communicate
As a person living with dementia’s disease progresses, it can become harder to communicate with them. But remember that there are other, equally positive ways you can bond and spend time with your loved ones. Spending time completing puzzles, or undertaking art projects may help trigger memories, which can help to spark conversation.
Whilst having a loved one who is living with dementia can be hard, you can still have fun with them. Take them for days out, go for walks in the park, reminisce over old photo albums – simply enjoy their company.
If things start to feel overwhelming or out of control, just take a second to yourself and breath, it will help reduce your heart rate and release muscle tension which will relax your body. And remember, you are doing an amazing job!