I often find my work with and supporting families meeting the challenge of dementia very awarding but also feel saddened at what I see on a regular basis. Never a week goes by where a carer confides that they have become excluded from previous circle of friends.
We are. as a country, getting better about awareness of this cruel disease but we have such a long way to go. We need to educate more people about what having dementia actually means and the impact of the extended family. A lot of exclusion comes about from fear of the unknown and if I want to be completely honest ignorance. It has never been easy to access information which may just help you feel comfortable spending time with a loved one or friend.
Yes, dementia does steal our loved ones from us gradually but with the right attitude, patience and understanding any of us can tap into their loving character which still exists. Triggers to restore memories can be easier than you think, by playing music, showing old photographs and just talking through good times together.
Please, please do not abandon people with dementia, and/or especially their carers as their lives have changed beyond recognition…but golly they stick with it. As always I recommend visiting the Alzheimer’s Society’s website where you will find amazing literature and advice. Their array of literature is superb with great tools to help with positive engagement.