A man said recently: “I don’t know that it’s worth visiting her now.” His wife had been a long-term resident in a care home for several months. “Sometimes she doesn’t even recognise me and if she does, she doesn’t remember I’ve been,” he sighed. It can be very distressing and discouraging when your partner of many years ceases to recognise or respond to you but it’s always worth visiting them if you possibly can.
Firstly, you may be the only person who knows their likes and dislikes and can make staff aware of them. Also, you can alert staff to things that may alarm them and cause them to react badly. Even if they do not know who you are, they may still recognise that you are important to them and your company will bring pleasure and comfort. These encounters create what is known as emotional memories; they may not remember your name, but they will associate you with warmth and kindness and that brings its own, sustaining comfort. Finally, it’s important to ensure that they are getting the best possible care and that their health and wellbeing are maintained, and you can only do this by visiting.
If you care for someone with dementia or you yourself have a diagnosis, you may find help through the Wednesday Group or the Carers’ Group. For more information about either group contact Jan on 01777 709974.