Your dementia questions answered
There can be a lot of confusion surrounding dementia. Here we answer some of the most common questions.
Here are some of the questions our dementia care experts encounter on a regular basis.
What's the difference between Alzheimer's and dementia?
There are more than 100 different types of dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common. So in short Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia.
Should I tell my loved one that they have dementia?
Listen to the person carefully, watch how they are reacting to situations and try to work out any feelings they may be experiencing. By doing this you can identify the support they may need at that time.
I feel I don't know how to talk to my loved one anymore. How can I reconnect?
It’s normal to feel afraid that you no longer know how to connect with your loved one, particularly if they have reached a stage with their dementia where they seem incoherent.
The most important thing to remember is that they are still the same person. They may respond to affection and enjoy interests that have always been a part of their life. Think about the things they used to enjoy and try to engage on that subject.
Making a happy, meaningful moment is hugely beneficial to the person – even if minutes later it is forgotten.
The most important thing to remember is that they are still the same person.
My mum, who has dementia, keeps asking for my dad. Should we tell her he has died?
This is not an uncommon question asked by people with dementia and it can be very distressing to have to answer again and again.
You can avoid the direct question, for instance, by saying, “You and Dad used to go walking together, didn’t you? Let’s see if we can find some photos.” By recognising and working with feelings they have about the person you are meeting their need for comfort and working with memories that are pleasurable and meaningful.
I feel myself getting angry when I have to repeat myself for the hundredth time and this makes me feel guilty. What can I do?
My loved one won't let me hug them anymore. I feel as though they don't love me anymore. Why have they changed?
My dad won't answer to the name 'Dad' anymore. Why is this?
If your dad doesn’t recall that he is a father, or believes you are someone else, such as his wife or mother, it may seem strange that you are addressing him by the name ‘Dad’. Instead, try using his first name, or a nickname that he is used to others using.
For more information about creating meaningful engagement with people living with dementia, see Bupa Aged Care’s ‘Communicating and connecting’ publication.
If you have some more questions you'd like to ask, you can talk to a real person on Bupa's Aged Care Support Line and get personal tips and information.