The name of the game? Understanding

Torbay Weekly

As someone who has lived with dementia for years now, I have seen so many sayings come and go - what you should say, what you shouldn’t, don’t say this, don’t say that - but do they make any sense or difference?

Here`s an example - 'never argue with someone who has dementia'

Well, in the real world and because we are all human, that will never happen and with the best will in the world, there will be a time you will disagree as sure as eggs are eggs.

Human emotions take over and when someone is constantly telling you something that you know is wrong? It’s so hard to just nod your head, especially when I comes to times and dates.

Goodness knows what these people who make these sayings up are thinking? But... too many people just take it for granted that the person with dementia is confused and getting mixed up when actually, sometimes, probably the majority of times, what they are saying makes sense and is correct.

So, can you imagine if the person that you live with gives you that 'look' every time you tell a tale, how frustrating that can be for the person who lives with dementia?

Imagine yourself almost never being believed every time you open your mouth.

And it happens more than you think!

It really is all about patience; understanding and common sense - remember that?

Most people, if not all, in a relationship, will disagree at some point, so why differentiate just because someone has dementia?

I believe that’s where the stigma begins and is so hard to shake off.

Yes, it's frustrating for both. Yes, it can be hurtful at times and, yes, it can be upsetting but with any tiff between people who love each other, dementia or not, it’s never nice is it?

So it’s about time common sense made a reappearance and people should say 'yes you will argue, yes you will fall out and, yes, some hurtful things may well be spoken'.

But we have to look at it for what it is, people will argue, period! It’s in our DNA, it's how we deal with it after.

When dementia is involved, emotions run higher from both parties, frustrations come to the top probably a bit quicker and the rows may well become more frequent.

But we must try and  realise that sometimes, it’s the disease talking, it’s the disease coming between you and we mustn’t let it.

In most cases of dementia, the tiff will be forgotten within the hour and normal service will be resumed, as they say.

On a personal note, long before my diagnosis, I have taken my dog for a walk, gone to the shop and left him tied up.

I have walked into the wrong bank, stood in the queue for 30 mins and read all the notices - as you do - before being told by the bank teller the bank I want is next door.

And I have been to the shop for an evening paper, come home, sat down and started to read said paper, when my next door neighbour sat in the same room asked how I was?

Yes, I had walked in and sat in the wrong house without even noticing!

All true stories, so you see things happen, people make mistakes and we all do things sometimes that seem unexplainable.

But we are all human.

So please, every time a loved one gets something wrong, it’s not always dementia.