Dementia can be a very difficult concept to grasp for many family members and caretakers. Understanding the perspective of a dementia sufferer is an important early step to providing the best care for them though.
A big part of my work has been about trying to take an understanding approach, with patient and simple communication methods.
What is going on inside a dementia sufferer’s brain? Someone with dementia begins to exist more and more in their past memories and the feelings that are attached to them. They exist in a completely different reality because their brain is not functioning normally.
I compare it to Alice in Wonderland – Alice stepped through the mirror to experience an alternate reality full of wonderful adventures. But when she steps back through the mirror, those adventures are left behind and she is without them in our reality. A person with dementia is struggling to compensate for a loss of brain function. The alternate reality is one way they compensate and cope.
They no longer see the world the same way that someone with a fully functioning brain would. They no longer feel it the same way that we do. Sensory experiences are experienced much differently.
This why proper training is so necessary for those who care for loved ones with dementia. If you are interested in learning more about how much training can help, click here.