Living with Alzheimer’s, either through experiencing it ourselves in later life, or living with a partner who has some degree of dementia, is a strong possibility for many of us. As we know, the population is increasing, not just because of the increasing birth rate but also because people are living longer. By 2024, it is estimated that for every 3 people over the age of 60 in Germany, there will be one person under the age of 15. As we live longer, there is a higher risk of developing some age-related diseases and illnesses.
What is it like living with a partner who has Alzheimer’s Disease and what help is available? In this article, Steph Booth reveals some insights into her husband’s (Tony Booth) experience – how she still sees glimmers of the old Tony and how that serves to remind them of what they have lost as well as enjoying it for the moment. Watching the Film Calvary on DVD resonated with Tony for some reason and they were able to have a meaningful and animated discussion about the film.
Steph wants him to keep as many skills as she can. He always made the pot of tea and he continues to do so, even though it sometimes causes confusion. She is aware that once she takes over that small job, it will be lost to him. However, how long can he keep doing it and risk burning himself?
People experiencing dementia often withdraw from society and their community, they don’t want to increase the risk of feeling confused or getting lost or not being able to recognise friends or neighbours. However, daily interactions are important – not just to prevent isolation but to stimulate the mind and to make people feel contented and happy.
There are a number of Dementia-Friendly Communities initiatives around the country, aiming to help to keep people with dementia living at home for as long as possible but also to give support to their family members too. Singing is one of the faculties that stays with people the longest after a diagnosis of dementia. Many people find it seems like the dementia leaves them as they start to sing with others. It is important that if possible, that hobbies are kept up. If a person also loved a brisk walk every day or a game of golf, it can really improve their quality of life if they can keep up these hobbies with the accompaniment of a family member or a carer.
Working as a home carer often meaning working with people with varying degrees of dementia. Some may have very mild dementia and will just require some companionship, or accompaniment when shopping or going for a walk, and reminders to take medication. Others will require help with washing and dressing as well as companionship.
If you would like to avail of more help for a family member with dementia, do contact us at Comfort Keepers and we will help you to assess your needs.
If you would like to apply for a Comfort Keepers position, please do so here.