When a loved one has Dementia: How Do I Respond?
The numbers of those affected by Dementia is astronomical whether it's the person living with Dementia, caregivers, family members or friends. It's predicted that those affected by Dementia is only going to increase in the future. According the Alzheimer's Association "Quick Facts," there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's alone, and by 2050 this number could rise to 16 million. This disease affects someone's cognitive functioning, communication, behaviors and can affect someone's identity and ability to lead an autonomous life.
Due to the impact Dementia has on someone's mind a lot of us tend to have the same questions about how to properly interact and the best way to maintain positive relationships. Now there are several different kinds of Dementia, and depending on the type of Dementia this has different impacts on our daily functioning. Dementia can be described as an umbrella term. For example, Alzheimer's and Dementia with Lewy Bodies are both different types of Dementia, both have different proteins affecting the mind with different impacts noticeable by cognition functioning and behaviors. Someone living with Dementia with Lewy Bodies may experience hallucinations while someone with Alzheimer's may not experience hallucinations. There are different symptoms with the varying types of Dementia. And someone can also be diagnosed with multiple types of Dementia.
Yes, this is a very complicated disease.
I want to first share a story from someone in the audience of a presentation I gave:
She explained that every time she went to visit her Mom, she would stare out the window and talk about the train. She went on to explain that there was no train in existence so it wasn't possible so she never knew how to respond.