It’s difficult enough for you and your aging adult to adjust when she’s diagnosed with dementia, but it can be even more difficult for others in her life. Friends and relatives may not understand what this diagnosis means for your elderly family member and they may start to withdraw a bit. There are things you can do, however, to help them understand.
Talk with Them about What Your Senior’s Experience Is Like.
Every aging adult’s experience with dementia is different. Chances are good that you, your elderly family member, or her doctor noticed symptoms and changes that led to the diagnosis. Those changes may only be small ones right now, which means that your elderly family member’s experience so far with dementia hasn’t necessarily been a dramatic one. Share with friends and family what the experience has been like so that they can understand.
Remind Them She’s Still Herself.
It can also help to remind your senior’s friends and relatives that she is still herself. The same activities that she’s always enjoyed are likely to be fun for her for a long time to come. She may have some new boundaries, such as not wanting to be around crowds, but she’s still the same person that she has been.
Share Educational Tools with Them.
Information is a powerful tool and the more information you can share with people who care about your aging family member, the better. Share the same information that you’ve been using to learn more about your elderly family member’s health and prognosis. The more that friends and family learn, the less scary dementia will feel to them.
Ask Them for Help When You and Your Senior Need It.
When you and your aging adult need extra help, turn to friends and family. This can help them to learn more about the day-to-day experiences of how your elderly family member copes with dementia. Although senior care providers may still be the most experienced helpers you can find, supplementing their services with friends and family who want to learn more is invaluable.
While there is a lot changing for your elderly family member, that doesn’t mean it’s all changing now.