If you think it’s difficult to understand what someone with dementia is struggling to tell you sometimes, just try to think about it from their point of view. Their difficulties must, on occasion, feel insurmountable. It is hard for them to marshal their thoughts; the words they need are elusive and keep slipping away and the person they are trying to explain their problems to is looking decidedly confused themselves and quite possibly anxious to get away!
What can we do? Sometimes the person solves their own problem by finding other words or miming the information they are trying to convey. Failing this, we must do the best we can. Sometimes this just means listening attentively and sympathetically and trying to respond appropriately to the underlying emotions. We can share a moment of happiness or show sympathy and understanding for distress even if we don’t know the cause or the exact nature of the problem. Often, this connection at an emotional level is all that is required to make the person feel understood and listened to.
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.