FINDING THE LIGHT IN DEMENTIA

Receiving a diagnosis of dementia comes with a multitude of emotions: fear, devastation, shock, panic, resentment and bemusement. All of these feelings are caused by uncertainty about what lies ahead and having to face up to an unknown future.

Finding the Light is here to offer hope and comfort by helping you to understand what is happening to your loved one living with dementia. Once you can understand why their behaviour may change, this book guides you with practical, creative tips to see through the mist of dementia and helps you re-connect with them and yourself. Finding the Light suggests taking small steps to adopt enjoyable approaches to help overcome some of the difficulties you may be experiencing.

I will explain about how dementia may affect your loved one in relation to space and time, sensory changes, communication difficulties and differences in thinking and reasoning. Finding the Light goes on to explore how you can communicate and re-connect with them by making subtle changes in the environment, whether indoors or outdoors, being aware of your body language and creating sensory life stories that make the most of the senses.

 

Following the simple activities and tips recommended here may help to keep your relationships vibrant and healthy. They may also help toward slowing down your partner’s deterioration. By understanding what happens when somebody has dementia, you will learn to be more empathic and re-develop a connection with your partner and with yourself thereby helping to maintain love and dignity. Finding the Light also helps you to recognise your needs and offers steps to self-care. By caring for yourself, you are in a better place to care for others.

This book is not meant to replace your doctor but aims to guide you through your lives together. Dementia affects people individually and different stages of the condition will bring different issues; therefore, the advice here is general and does not necessarily suggest that your partner will experience all of the changes discussed.

Finding the Light in Dementia: A Guide for Families, Friends and Caregivers

Contents

 

Chapter One:                  A Diagnosis of Dementia, what now?

How to face up to the situation and make positive plans for the future

Chapter Two:                  Communicating from the Heart

How to find ways to help you communicate well together

Chapter Three:               Using Memories to Keep in Touch

Creative approaches to stimulate memory and help with day to day living

Chapter Four:                 Staying Connected through Life Stories

How to re-connect by creating your life stories that you can enjoy together

Chapter Five:                  Creating a Calm, Safe Home

How to help your care partner feel content and safe at home

Chapter Six:                   Sleep is the Best Medication

Gentle approaches to help you both feel rested

Chapter Seven:              Tips for Eating and Drinking

How good nutrition and hydration can provide balance in your lives

Chapter Eight:                I am Still Me!

How to maintain your partner’s dignity and help with their appearance

Chapter Nine:                Understanding Changes in Mood and Behaviour

How to listen and respond to the emotions behind mood and behaviour

Chapter Ten:                  Altered States: Hallucinations, Delusions, Misperceptions

Try new approaches to avoid distress

Chapter Eleven:             Caring for the Caregiver

Quick and easy ways to nurture and replenish yourself

Chapter Twelve:             Considering Care

What to look for in choosing caregivers, respite and care homes

 

 

Finding the Light in Dementia: A Guide for Families, Friends and Caregivers

It is important to work together to plan for the future. Planning ahead may help to avoid difficult situations arising and sometimes even avert a crisis in terms of future care, welfare and finances. You will need to explore your options with regard to putting affairs in order since ability to make decisions will be affected over time. It is important that choices are documented and while decisions may change, you will have taken some control in your future. Speak to a legal professional/attorney for specific advice, if you don’t have an existing advisor, contact your local dementia charity, they should be able to support you in your decisions and direct you to the help you need.

Do not face this alone, encourage your friends and family to get involved. Contact your local dementia charity, memory cafe or singing group to help you stay in touch with the world outside and with people who can offer support. Over time you may need to look for some additional help such as from a befriender, who are volunteers that come to help as friendly visitors into your home or a caregiver. This website and my book will offer suggestions throughout all stages of your dementia experience.