Life after a dementia diagnosis
January 28, 2020
Life doesn’t end with a dementia diagnosis but if someone close to you has recently been diagnosed then it is natural to feel upset and worried. Here is our advice for those caring for someone living with dementia and how you can learn to live with the challenges posed by the disease.
Do your research
A dementia diagnosis, although not the end of life, is life changing and it will eventually affect all aspects of you and your loved one’s futures. Therefore, it is important to learn as much as you can about the disease, how it is likely to develop and ways in which you can prepare for the challenges ahead. It is natural to be afraid of the unknown, so the more you learn, the less daunting the future will seem.
Personality changes are inevitable
As a physical disease, dementia causes a build-up of proteins in the brain, forming plaques that break down the brains nerve cells and disrupt connections, resulting in damage to brain tissues. This damage leads to changes in personality and is often extremely distressing for loved ones to come to terms with. Remember, it is the disease causing these changes and your loved one is not responsible for them. Hold on to your memories of the person they were before the disease took hold, as that is their true personality.
Accept their new life
Once you have accepted that dementia will alter your partner’s personality it is perfectly natural to grieve their loss. It is important that you learn to love them as they are now, with the disease. Perhaps they were always active and on the go, but now prefer to sit quietly, listening to music or watching TV. Join in with their activities whenever you can, and you may still see glimmers of their old personality peeping through.
Don’t do it alone
Caring for a loved one with dementia is emotionally and physically demanding and it is vital that you ask for and accept help. Research local dementia support groups and online forums and attend social events and meet ups if you can. Don’t allow yourself to become isolated as this will have a negative impact on both your lives. As the disease progresses consider respite care for your loved one, giving you both a break. You cannot care for someone if you aren’t taking care of yourself and nobody can do it all by themselves.
Clifden House Dementia Care Centre offers a vibrant and active environment, as well as a home for family, friends and carers to spend quality time with their loved one. We provide full residential care, as well as short term respite and day care. Our experienced care team is on hand to offer help and advice on caring for a loved one with dementia, whatever the stage of their illness.
We will try our best to answer any questions you may have, or offer a solution to an individual issue – no matter how small.
We are happy to assess residents of non-dementia care homes in order to see if we are better able to meet their needs. Equally, you are very welcome to bring friends or relatives in for lunch or an activity afternoon, and maybe take a well-earned breather yourself!