Welcome to the fourth of my seven ‘mini’ blogs for UK Dementia Awareness Week 2013. They are all themed around talking about dementia, exploring different aspects of conversation from the point of view of people who are living with dementia, carers and families.
Day 4 – The frustrations of living with dementia
Living with dementia, especially when you have awareness of what is happening to you, is inherently a very frustrating experience.
You want to get on and do things, say things, go to places and meet people. Yet your brain can’t keep up, bits of the jigsaw of daily living are missing, and you feel limited by being unable to remember the how, what or why of things you previously accomplished without hesitation.
It’s a heavy burden, but it would be a lot easier to bear if it didn’t come with the most irritating aspect of living with dementia: dealing with people who just don’t understand. The shop assistant or fellow customer who is impatient for you to remember your pin number, or not hesitate trying to find your change. The passer by who won’t stop to help you find your way, or the person on the phone from the utility company who is demanding information that you cannot recall.
Talking to a person who has dementia should be about dialogue on their terms, not on yours. It should never be about adding to their frustrations; it should be a conversation that brings calm reassurance, comfort and sees them as a person, not a disease.
Next post on 23 May 2013.