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August 11, 2016

Dementia is a lonely place

By Hanna Wilcock, Learning Facilitator, Time to Shine

We held a dementia seminar that looked at the different ways of helping somebody diagnosed with dementia stay integrated within society. 

An older couple attended the seminar as the husband had just recently been diagnosed with dementia. His wife spoke to me as they came in. She said she was struggling with the diagnosis and her new role of ‘carer’ in the relationship. 

You could already see her becoming frustrated with her husband. She snapped at him as he sat down and tried to do everything for him – getting him a drink, sorting out his form and his chair. He just sat there in silence.

After the seminar was finished the lady came up again to speak to me and seemed quite emotional. 

Mark had talked in the seminar about how you should help the person with dementia regain control of their lives by allowing them to do things for themselves instead of doing everything for them. 

He also said you should always remember that the person with dementia isn’t being difficult – it’s not that they don’t want to remember, just that they can’t. Those memories have gone and cannot be recalled. 

The woman said this had changed her outlook on how she would treat her husband. She’d try to be calmer with him and let him do more for himself. She said she knew that he could still do lots of things if she just helped him rather than doing it all for him.

Her husband also came over to talk to me and told me that he’d been against coming. He had been diagnosed and that was that. He said he was surprised how useful he found the seminar and that he now felt it was something everyone with dementia should attend. He wanted to keep himself part of things and so would try to push himself to do more.