I do not know many families who have not been impacted by dementia in some way – a parent, grandparent, or another relative. In my case, it is both parents. My mother has advanced dementia and my father is now in the early stages. Fortunately, they prepared Powers of Attorney many years ago so that I can deal with their finances and healthcare. It makes life a bit easier, and my father in particular is very grateful that I am able to do this.
With dementia, I believe that the biggest stress is watching someone you love, care for, and have known all of your life gradually decline to the point that they do not know who you are. It can be quite a shock when this happens and the loss of memory seems to happen in steps. Some of these steps are larger than others.
My mother’s dementia was accompanied by a host of other health issues such as Parkinson’s, cancer, and diabetes. We used to joke that the only part of her not impacted was her hearing and even today this appears excellent. With dementia, it doesn’t unfortunately get any better. You simply have to make the best of each day and try and stall its development through medication.
We have put in place a special “dementia clock”, security pendant alarm, and bright cutlery and plates but we are passed that stage now I sometimes wish we could get back to that period of time but unfortunately, we can’t.
My recommendation to other families in a similar position is to enjoy the humorous moments. I can remember playing charades at Christmas and my mother continuously acted out the film “Goodbye Mr. Chips” and each time we pretended that we didn’t know it. Clearly, she enjoyed it!
So, enjoy those moments. Remember, the person who has dementia will be scared of the diagnosis so support them in every way emotionally and practically. Put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney – without those you will have the added stress of completing an application for Deputyship through the Court of Protection. So see a solicitor and complete a Lasting Power of Attorney while the person still has capacity to understand the paperwork. These are straightforward documents (but you don’t want to make a mistake completing them) and separate ones are required for finances as well as health and welfare matters. It is one less thing to worry about and will certainly help everyone in the future.
If you have any queries or questions about how to support someone with dementia then please contact our Court of Protection team by email at email@example.com.