The Impact of Dementia on Relationships
When someone is diagnosed with dementia it can have a profound effect on relationships, not just a spousal relationship but any type of relationship.
If someone you care about is diagnosed with Dementia it can be a worrying time – we know that the person will change and the worry of them not recognising us can be one of the most distressing thoughts.
It can be comforting to remember that, whilst there will be times when they may appear not to recognise you, there will be times when something you say or do will remind them of the past which will allow you to connect together with them in that moment.
A person diagnosed with dementia will not be able to retain short term memories, such as what they ate an hour ago, or a conversation they had with you a few moments before. However they will find it easier to recall memories from the past which is why reminiscing is such an important part of keeping our relationships strong. So, if it was customary to buy roses at Valentine’s keep the tradition going! My Dad always sang “Funny Valentine” to my Mum when he got home from work – songs and music can be a great way to trigger memories from the past. Even if the person is in residential care try not to change these traditions – the carers at the home will help you set up the occasion as they will understand the importance of it to your relationships.
What ever your relationship with a person with Dementia it’s important to accept that whilst it might have it’s lows, it will also have it’s high points too. There will be days when you visit and your loved one won’t remember who you are, but there will also be days when they will.
When I worked as a carer in a residential home, and now as I support my mum through her diagnosis, I always make sure to go in to each visit with an open mind and take it one minute at a time. I always start the conversation in the same way no matter what the mood as this helps them understand who you are. Go with the flow of the conversation, after all you would have done that before, you may find that one conversation leads to a totally different topic but does that matter?
Always remember that the person in front of you is the person you love, whatever your relationship is with them, this is the person you have shared experiences with, made memories with, the person you have laughed and cried with and that is something no one can take away. Even if you think that visit hasn’t gone as you hoped, it will make a difference to the person you visited. Deep inside they will remember that something was different about the day you have visited them, they may not remember who has been to see them when they go to bed that night, they may not remember what you said to them but they will remember that something was different and they will remember that today someone was kind to them, someone made me smile and they will fall asleep easier and more relaxed because of it.
About the Author: Catherine Veits works with people online and face to face from our Lincoln clinic : “My passion is working with people and their families or friends who have been effected by dementia. My own personal experiences and my training as a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist mean I am uniquely placed to help people cope better with the stress and anxiety this condition brings to both the individual and their loved ones. I will guide you through the different stages and help you find ways to adjust to the changes so that you can find a positive way to live with dementia.”
If you are struggling to come to terms with a diagnosis of dementia (for yourself or someone you love) it may be helpful to speak to one of the Inspired to Change team to find out how solution focused hypnotherapy could support you. Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists work online and are based across the UK in Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Essex, Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.
To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information.