As dementia becomes a part of life, you and those around you are likely to experience changes, including changes in relationships. Relationships and roles can change within a family as the need for care arises. Communication will remain an important part of your relationship. There will likely be changes which may cause a variety of emotions, like sadness, frustration, or even feeling low. Behaviors may also change as dementia affects routines. Let’s take a closer look at how to face these changes.
If you are a person with dementia, communicate how those caring for you are best able to support you. Perhaps having visitors be introduced by name and connection (Sara, our neighbor) would be more helpful than feeling confused or left out. You can also communicate about whether there is a desire to have reminders or just to let it pass without being made aware that something was forgotten. Either way is fine and it is okay to make a personal decision. Other ways that communication can be easier are by making sure to:
- Look each other in the eyes
- Speak as clearly as possible
- Listen carefully and without distractions
- Turn off unnecessary noises (TV, radio, phone, etc.).
Keeping the lines of communication open so that you are able to maintain a healthy outlook as healthy relationships will remain extremely important.
It is normal for there to be lots of emotions. These feelings, especially when they lead to sadness, anger, or fear, are based in the reality of the changes that are happening. If the feelings begin to take over, it may be important to have help navigating the changes, either through a general practitioner, counselor, or care giving service. Being prepared for some of the changes will hopefully help you to be more aware and, also, more able to communicate the changes as they come.
For people with dementia, changes in behavior are to be expected. Some people become more withdrawn or lose patience. Other people find strength that they never knew they had. Daily tasks, such as cooking, scheduling and attending appointments, and other responsibilities may become more difficult. In many cases it is an adjustment to have help performing these tasks. Give grace, encouragement, and patience as you each learn to navigate these changes and this uncharted territory.
Another change that is to be expected is interest in sex and intimacy. Everybody is different. Sometimes individuals have an increased interest and other times there is a loss of interest with their partner. Having a conversation about each person’s interests will help to find appropriate care and comfort for each person. Movies, cuddles, and other activities may be other options for some couples.
BrightStar Care of Delray Beach, Florida
Be gentle with one another as you learn to navigate life with dementia. If you find yourself in need of care and support, please contact the professionals at BrightStar Care of Delray Beach, FL