Talking about dementia… with your sibling

Welcome to the third of my seven ‘mini’ blogs for UK Dementia Awareness Week 2014.

Concerns that a person is developing dementia aren’t just restricted to that individual – they also affect those closest to them, bringing complex relationships into play. Over this Awareness Week I want to look at some of the emotions and reactions that underpin the difficult conversations thousands of people are having, or thinking of having, as they open up about dementia.

Day 3 – ‘Bonded by blood’

In the concentration of written material about a partner or parent developing dementia, little notice is often paid to the siblings of those people. Even less thought is given to what it must be like to see your twin developing dementia.

For siblings with close bonds and in similar age brackets, this is perhaps the one relationship that offers the most stark insight and poses the question – why did my brother/sister develop dementia and I haven’t? Moreover, am I more likely to in the future?

Those concerns over genetics add to the emotional and practical effects of a brother or sister developing dementia, yet in the midst of that turmoil a sibling is potentially the one person who could help their brother or sister the most. A close sibling that a person with dementia has grown up with, and known all of their life, is often the best-placed individual to enable that person to live well with dementia through utilizing a whole host of therapies, including reminiscence.

Opening up to a person you know about your concerns that they may be developing dementia is a conversation most people dread and many seek to postpone for as long as possible. For help and advice on how to broach the topic of dementia, read my blog post ‘Having THAT conversation’.

Next post on 21 May 2014.

Until then…

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