An urgent reminder to friends and family of dementia sufferers 15



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Is my visit making any difference at all? Why bother when they’ll only forget it?

If you have a friend or relative with dementia, it’s only natural to ask these questions. And you wouldn’t be alone.

According to the BBC, 42% of those surveyed believe there’s no point in keeping up regular contact once somebody enters the advanced stages of dementia, when they might not even recognise you or remember your visit.

But the Alzheimer’s Society, a UK charity, says this is absolutely not the case: your visit counts. It can stimulate the brain in some very important ways, bringing about feelings of happiness, security and comfort.

Even if they can’t remember the visit itself, dementia sufferers can still be left with a lasting “emotional memory”, allowing the happiness to linger long afterwards – even if they don’t necessarily remember why.

The charity is now urging all friends and family of dementia sufferers to renew their dedication for 2016; to meet with them regularly, and reconnect them with the activities and topics they most enjoy.

After surveying more than 300 people with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Society found that more than half were barely taking part in social activities – if at all. 64% reported feeling isolated.

Jeremy Hughes, the charity’s chief executive, said this was particularly important at this time of year, now holiday festivities have settled down.

“After spending time with friends and family over the festive period, New Year can be a bleak and lonely time for people with dementia and their carers. It’s so important for people with dementia to feel connected throughout the year”.

While many of us in this position have the best of intentions, it can be hard to put them into practice. A more regular routine throughout the year could be vital.

“Spending time with loved ones and taking part in meaningful activities can have a powerful and positive impact, even if they don’t remember the event itself. We’re urging people to get in touch with us and find out how we can help you stay connected”.

Do you have a friend or relative with dementia? Do you feel like you visit them enough?

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Dementia comes in many forms but patients love music and connections to long ago past ….photo albums… story’s or wildlife connections……..amazing what conversations you can have to ‘up’ the mood of a confused and or depressed person….. we should all be visiting and just trying to tap in.

  2. Most important as I learned personally from my father. His face would light up when I arrived to take him out or just visit for an hour or so. It wasn’t always easy but that smile was worth it.

  3. I know my visit with my dog, makes my sisters happy. It doesn’t matter if they don’t remember afterwards.

  4. As stated before my wife suffers from dementia every day is a challenge fore both of us, nobody knows what is around the corner. At some stage we will have to look at respite for me and her , a terrible diseases

  5. My mum has dementia, I visit when I can. I have been very unwell myself and haven’t been able to visit for awhile. I know I love my mum and she loves me. I ask God to watch over her, this is all I can do

  6. My dad suffered from it and two of his sisters did . It was hard visiting him. When we did he always asked me when he could go home. All I could say was” When they know what is wrong with you”. Not the truth but it satisfied him. We could only visit my parents once a year. Too far away.

  7. I volunteer at our local aged care and love every minute of it. One lady’s face lights up when sees a familiar face, even if she doesn’t remember names. I love to talk to them about the history of our town, most can talk about the past easily. Every now and then I take m order Collie in, the old farmers are thrilled to see a dog. I’m back in the town where I grew up, and they nearly all remember my parents so we have great conversations. I also travel 100ks to visit my ex mother-in-law when I can, she loves to see me. It’s very rewarding and I’m glad I can help them.

  8. Why would we assume that family contact did not matter if it cannot be remembered? Babies don’t remember but they would die without family contact.

    1 REPLY
    • You are so right! I think that’s why it’s important to talk to unconscious people too. They don’t remember but there are different ways of knowing.

  9. My husband suffers from dementia and is in Aged Care, it got to the stage where he was continually falling over and if there were no neighbours home to help me lift him he could be on the floor for many many hours he was also badly incontinent and when in the bathroom would regularly miss the toilet. He remembers things from the past but his current memory is not there, he needs somebody to shave him and to bathe him, life is so cruel, I visit him at least once a week, but it is so very hard for me also to see him like this.

  10. My Mum has Dementia and is in a lovely home in Dunedin NZ. I can only go over once a year now, but I ring regularly and email which they print off and give to her. She still knows us and is happy most the time She is 90 and loves helping with the dishes and tidying up and she has her duster there and dusts. However, if they ask her if she would like to help, she says no I don’t want to. She would be horrified to know that as she was always a lady. She loves to laugh so I mention things Dad used to say or do and she has a good laugh. A few years ago when she was looking after Dad, she said if she felt down and was finding it hard, she would go in the bathroom, smile broadly at herself in mirror and feel much better.

  11. My 93 year old mum is in a dementia ward however she is able to kick my butt when we play scrabble and she taught me at primary school in Stratford some 54 years ago.

  12. Journalists DO need to watch their language! Avoid all references to Victim, Sufferer, Confined to (wheelchair/bed/chair) and similar. Put PERSON before condition – eg. person with dementia, person with disability, etc. Or “wheelchair user”.

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