Statistics show that up to 55 million people worldwide live with Dementia. It is characterized by its effects on the brain, specifically with memory and thought processes, as well as changes in personality too. As such, if your partner has been recently diagnosed as having the disease, it is only natural to feel afraid of what the future may bring. Here we have a short list of some ways in which you can support a person with dementia, to make both their and your lives more manageable.
Keep active together
There have been numerous studies on the benefits of fresh air and nature in terms of both mental and physical health. Whilst it is daunting to learn your loved one is ill; it is incredibly important to enjoy one another’s company still. If you have grown accustomed to taking long walks together, or perhaps to swim once or twice a week, why not continue this for as long as you both feel able? Sharing time doing something you both love will do wonders, not only for your bodies, but also for your mental and emotional well-being.
Talk to them about their wishes
While a partner who has recently been diagnosed with Dementia will have some mental incapacities thanks to the disease, it is important to speak frankly and honestly about their wishes as the disease progresses. While it can be tempting to ignore the progression of the disease and have the patient remain in the family home, it often becomes too difficult, given the changes in both personality and the level of care required that this disease has. An alternative solution may be to research assisted care facilities, such as assisted living La Jolla, where trained professionals run memory care specific programs. This will not only give your partner the opportunity to choose their own care but can help to relieve any guilt on your part too.
Help them retain a social life
We humans are social beings, and even when we become ill, this integral part of our lives does not stop. If the pandemic and its subsequent lock downs have taught us anything, it’s that when people (and particularly older people) lose regular social contact, this can have a huge effect on their health, both mentally and physically. In fact, studies have shown that the enforced isolation had a huge impact on the frailty, as well as the progression of diseases in this age group. If you feel like you may need some support in catering to your partner’s social needs, many organizations run memory disease specific groups, where people with the same conditions are able to mingle in a safe and comforting environment.
Take care of your own well-being
Being diagnosed with a lifelong debilitating disease is hugely frightening for the patient. However, the same is true for that patient’s loved ones, particularly if you are the person who will need to make decisions on their health, to care for them as they increasingly grow frail, and to manage behaviors and changes that are not normal for them. As such, it is incredibly important that you look after your own health, both physically and mentally. It may be worth joining a Carers community, either physically or online, who will be able to signpost you to services that you can access, both for information and for help. Speaking to others in the same boat can also be greatly comforting, proving you are not alone in what you are facing.