Dementia Changes Relationships, It Doesn’t End Them

Emotional Memory

Written by Nicole Scheidl

June 2, 2021

Emotions are heightened in individuals challenged by dementia. But relationships can be nourished and built by understanding family and friends.
The true meaning of charity is more the giving of what you are than of what you have. Your neighbour does not need a portion of your money or possessions, but he longs for a portion of your heart.

Emotions and Dementia

A person remains very capable of giving and receiving love even when they have dementia.  They can keep warm interpersonal relationships. They can continue to take part in meaningful activities with family and friends. The capacity to experience the full range of human emotions persists. People with dementia continue to feel love, joy, fear, anger and sorrow.
As the ability to reason decreases, emotional sensitivity is enhanced. This means that communication using emotions is far more powerful. They will be aware of your emotions and moods and can pick up and mirror those emotions. So your distress will become their distress. Your joy will become their joy.
It is important, therefore to be aware of your body language and the emotions you are feeling. You will certainly communicate your state of mind.

Heightened Spiritual Awareness

Another dimension of this journey will be a greater degree of spiritual intuitiveness. This is why life-long spiritual practices keep their importance. Attending formal worship will continue to reap benefits for the individual. Try and support their continued attendance. It will make a difference to them.

Role of the Caregiver

While expressing emotions may be difficult, they are still felt. Thus the progress of dementia impacts the ability to express. It does not impact the ability to feel. Individuals with dementia will find it challenging to interpret the environment around them. This makes an appropriate emotional response challenging. The onus falls on the caregiver to understand and help them to express how they are feeling.
Want tips for communicating better? Check out our family program here

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