A carer, looking after a husband or wife with dementia is occasionally faced with accusations of disloyalty. The person with dementia will become anxious because their partner is missing, or it seems to them they are. Maybe they’re just out in the garden for a breath of air but when they go back indoors, they are greeted with, “Where have you been? You took your time, didn’t you?” Sometimes they are even suspected of having an affair, “Been out to see your fancy man?” One man even mistook his own grandson, who had called to tidy the garden, for his wife’s lover.
It can be difficult to understand this behaviour. It may be a realisation at some level by the person with dementia that he or she is completely dependent on their partner and they fear that if the partner leaves they will be unable to cope. Maybe it’s simply jealousy. Whatever it is, there is rarely a quick fix but the ability to provide moments of happiness for a partner with dementia is likely to make them feel more secure and so, hopefully, less anxious about being abandoned by the one they depend on. These moments of happiness create positive emotional memories that help make people more resilient in times of stress. The Wednesday Group is experienced at providing moments of happiness, making people feel cared for, secure and less isolated.
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.