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Facing Facts – Denial Of Dementia

Dementia is arguably one of the cruellest of medical conditions, stripping families of their loved one’s identity. It is very hard on everyone involved and even more so if the individual living with dementia has no insight into or refuses to accept their condition.

In our podcast we explore the challenges faced by family members and carers and how individuals can best prepare for a time when they or a loved one may lack their mental capacity.

The key challenges that are often faced and need to be understood by families and carers are that:

•    Dementia is not just about memory loss; it affects reasoning and understanding, making it difficult for individuals to accept their need for care.

•     Families will face emotional turmoil, including guilt and frustration, when making care decisions for a loved one who may be in denial about their condition.

•      Providing practical care becomes complex when the individual living with dementia cannot recognize their need for support, often leading to frustration and aggressive resistance.

The emotional and practical cost can be overwhelming so it is important that individuals do what they can to prepare which includes:

  1. Early Planning: Discussing early on about care preferences and drawing up a health and welfare power of attorney, advance care statement and/or an advance decision to refuse treatment can make taking the medical and social care decisions much easier.
  2. Professional Support: Seeking professional advice and support from legal, financial, and care specialists to navigate the care journey. Ensuring there are finances available to pay for the preferred care and the appropriate mechanism to access those finances helps to ensure that the family can arrange the proper care to support the individual more easily.
  3. Emotional Support: Accessing counselling and emotional support services for both the individual living with dementia and their family members to cope with the changes. With the focus on the individual requiring care the emotional toll on family and carers is too often overlooked. Providing “care for the carers” is vital to ensure they do not “burn out”.

The prospect of living with dementia or trying to support a loved one through such a traumatic time is incredibly daunting. The watchword, however, is “preparation”. It is never too early to have the conversations and put in place the right legal and financial framework. With the proper advice and support it can help to alleviate the emotional and practical burdens ensuring everyone involved can achieve the best outcome possible.

To hear more from experts in their fields please tune into our podcast – Listen now on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Captivate.FM.