Jan 10, 2019

Denial may seem like a strange subject but it’s very common when a loved one is diagnosed with Dementia. It is I believe a self-protection mechanism because not only is your loved ones life changing but so is yours and quite dramatically. My example of Jim who looked after his wife Fran in the last article was a true example of denial. He would not accept any help because he thought it would all go away and get better. His and Fran’s life became a regimented string of routine, which was his way of controlling something as he had no control over Fran’s dementia and the path it took. We should take a step back and try and understand as best we can about dementia although every single person living with dementia’s journey is different. The forgetfulness, the word confusion, incontinence and eventually even the ability to feed ourselves and communicate as just a few examples.

Acceptance although hard will help not only the carer but the person living with dementia. I have experienced people getting frustrated and exasperated even angry when they are trying to convey information which is forgotten in minutes. Whereas if you try to understand and accept the journey it would make it not only easier on yourself but also on the person. Jim decided that Fran did not like milk on her cereals and she struggled to eat them dry and difficult to chew his daughter intervened and put milk on them for her. Fran then ate them with ease, Jim on the other hand got very angry as he thought he knew best. Jim was losing control and didn’t know what to do or how to act. They had a glass of wine every evening which Jim continued to give to Fran and would shout at her to drink, because not to was so not the norm. Eventually he realised, when she had collapsed and broken her hip that perhaps his methods of care were not appropriate.

Acceptance is so much better than denial, so you can work together for the best interests of both of you and your family. Seeking help can be in various forms in the earlier stage having respite for yourself and finding a day care centre specialising in dementia care, giving you that much needed break. Then as things progress consider a specialist care home for the needs of your loved one and yourself, which is a very hard decision but coping on your own 24hrs a day is a very hard request on anyone.

If you would like to discuss this with a member of the Larchfield House Care Home, Specialist Dementia Team, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01628 639428 or pop in and see us to have a chat. All conversations are strictly confidential and they are not shared with anyone.