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Interacting with dementia

How dementia in the family changes your relationships

Interacting with dementia: How dementia in the family changes your relationships


Dementia doesn’t just affect the patient – their loved ones will also find that their lives will change, especially anyone who has to become a carer.

When you take on the role of caring for a parent, partner, or child with dementia, your relationship dynamic is likely to change. Caring for a partner might make you feel like the relationship is no longer equal, while many people who care for their mother or father say they often feel like they have become the ‘older’ person while their parent is becoming more childlike. On top of your relationship with the patient changing, you may face other challenges like giving up full-time work, hobbies and holidays.

Relationships between carers, family and friends

Relationships between family members will often be affected when one person is caring for a relative with dementia. Carers tend to have very little free time, making it hard to balance care work with socialising. According to Carers UK, 57% of carers lose touch with family and friends, while 75% find it difficult to maintain relationships and social networks. This lack of social interaction with friends and family can lead to isolation and mental health problems, and can potentially affect the dementia patient as well if their extended family spontaneously stop visiting. Nearly half of the carers interviewed who felt they had lost touch with their family said it was due to a lack of practical support.

Furthermore, that feeling of isolation and loneliness could cause feelings of resentment to rise, especially if other relatives are not sharing the workload. Combine that with the legal and financial ramifications of dementia, and the situation can feel hopeless.

There’s still hope

Dementia comes with a range of daily struggles for caregivers to handle. When the person they love has a change in personality or mood, or they lose out on socialising and pursuing a career, it can feel like a strain. Still, many people insist there are positive things to focus on, as highlighted in a study of dementia caregivers:

“Despite the challenges and frequent negative impact, caring is often a very rewarding experience that can strengthen the bonds in a relationship. There were elements of caring that [carers] viewed in a far more positive light. This included seeing behaviours which reminded them of the family member before the onset of the condition, and the bond created through the close and intimate relationship they now shared”

Carers UK also reported that nearly a third of carers (29%) felt the role they had taken on brought them closer to the person in their care. If you are caring for a person with dementia, it’s always worth remembering that you may still be able to share moments with them that are special. Although it can be difficult to make time for enjoyable family activities while dealing with daily housework and the challenges of dementia, with professional help, you will find your time easier to manage. The fewer problems you have to deal with on your own, the more quality time you can enjoy with your loved ones.

How Eldermera can help

When a family member is diagnosed with dementia, it can be difficult to cope with the scope of the illness. Most likely you will see your relationships change, not just with the person diagnosed, but with other people in your life as well. To make these changes easier, seek out help with the legal issues surrounding dementia, or arrange ongoing care. As dementia progresses, you will eventually come across the legal aspects of care, such as appointing a lasting power of attorney and elderly care deputyship. The sooner you deal with these aspects of dementia care, the easier it will be, as the person with dementia can make their wishes known. With the legal and financial issues sorted, your family will be able to focus on getting the most out of the years to come.

Carers often sacrifice their own health and wellbeing for others; it’s important to remember that you are not alone and that there is help to be found. Our team will ensure that you get the dementia care provisions your family needs so you can have more freedom and time to focus on the positives.

To discuss your circumstances surrounding dementia, use our online form to schedule a free consultation with a care advocate at Eldermera.

Alternatively, call us on:

Nationwide tel: 0330 022 5778
Tel: 0207 030 4923

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