Dementia creates a whole host of issues, memory loss being the most recognisable affecting someone with this condition. Because of the progressive onset of Dementia, there will be those who might at first dismiss the challenges they face and refuse help. They could be at risk of delaying much needed support, resources and medicine which may well have a positive impact on their general wellbeing. It’s true that many cases of Dementia develop slowly and sometimes patients find it difficult to notice changes in their own behaviour. There are obvious safety issues too that come with self-denial; for example, when someone is determined to carry on driving making them unsafe on the roads after their cognitive ability have been considerably impaired by the onset of Dementia.
Having the relevant tests to ascertain the symptoms encountered is most often the best way to bring clarity. However, a newly diagnosed patient most likely will be dealing with a broad spectrum of difficult emotions. They might be very anxious about broaching any future action until they are given the time needed to process the diagnosis fully over time.
If you are concerned about someone with dementia in this way, talking things over is an ideal way to mutually decide on a course of action. It may well help to keep the following points in mind.
- Introduce the topic gently.
- Kindness always counts and in a supportive relationship you will want them to feel free to speak their mind without being judged.
- If they know you are concerned for them, it sets a basis for communication about the best course of action to take.
- Keep things simple and maybe try not to solve everything at once but one step at a time.
- Keep account of what has been said, the points made and the actions to be taken, possibly in a journal.
- Use language they will understand while using plenty of open-ended questions. Try to avoid making them feel uncomfortable or trapped.
- Discuss setting up a network of support for those closest to them.
- If you stay calm, they will be more likely to reciprocate and trust you all the more.
- Allow time for them to process their diagnosis. Try to avoid rushing into making big decisions on their behalf just to save time.
- For NE Essex you may be aware of local organisations who will be happy to help with these issues.
- If all else fails, talk to a local GP but make sure you consult with them first.
At Age Concern Colchester & NE Essex please connect with us for support services surrounding Dementia.