Dementia can slowly creep up on any family, no matter how healthy or happy the person may seem. When a family finds out that their loved one has dementia, they are faced with an emotional rollercoaster. You may never understand what it’s like to be in their position but your support can definitely help the family. If your best friend’s mother or father has been diagnosed with dementia, here are some ways in which you can show your support.
Be a shoulder to cry on
Sometimes the best thing you can possibly do is to make yourself available to your friend. Let them know that no matter how bad things get or how frustrated they may be, they can always rely on you for advice or just a shoulder to cry on.
Remember special dates
One of the most common symptoms of dementia is memory loss and those living with dementia will often forget their loved ones birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other important milestones. Make an effort to do something special for your friend on those dates; send them a bunch of flowers or a card. Let them know that you remembered their special day, especially when their loved one cannot.
Offer your help
Caring for someone living with dementia is extremely hard work and very often the caregivers are completely selfless and seldom ask for help. Offer your support and help to your friend by bringing them a home cooked meal, helping to do the laundry or simply relieving them of their duty by watching over their loved one with dementia whilst they take a nap.
Attend support groups
When it comes to dementia, education is extremely important. Joining a local dementia support group will help you ask questions in a safe and non judgemental environment. Being around people who are experiencing the same thing will better equip you with the knowledge, tools and resources to help your friend. Livewell Villages hosts multiple support groups in areas around Cape Town and Johannesburg – visit our information on support groups for more details.
People who have a family member diagnosed with dementia may often feel embarrassed to talk about their situation. Be gentle with your friend and allow them to open up to you on their own. Let them know that you are there for them without being forceful or intrusive. Remember to not take it personally when your friend won’t open up about their family member’s dementia diagnosis.