Life is never easy for carers of people with dementia and there is never a shortage of problems to be solved. It often seems that as soon as one problem is sorted out, another one rears its head. One carer told me she had accepted that her husband had such a poor memory that it was inevitable he would keep asking her the same things repeatedly. “I’ve just about got used to it,” she said, “but now he keeps telling me our neighbour has stolen his wallet.” She explained that the neighbour had not had the opportunity to steal his wallet and, in any case, it’s the last thing he would do.
There seem to be two influences at work here; first the gentleman concerned has short term memory problems so has probably forgotten where he put his wallet. A wallet is not something we leave around so he’s certain he put it somewhere safe and now it’s gone. He automatically assumes it’s been taken. The other influence is he no longer recognises his neighbour as someone trustworthy. He can’t remind himself that his neighbour wouldn’t do such a thing, nor can he work out what really happened.
What we need to bear in mind is that, like everyone else, there is always a reason for the things a person with dementia says or does. If we can understand what that reason is, it is much easier to show patience and empathy. For more information about the Wednesday (Memory) Group contact Jan on 01777 709974.