Being ‘in it’ together

How do I get my relative who has dementia to agree with what I know will be good for them (e.g. going to the day centre)?

Try to introduce things gradually and as sensitively as possible. Sometimes people with dementia say no to things because it is so daunting to start something new. This is a feeling we all get when we join a new group where we do not know anybody. You can try and go with the person for the first time and stay for a little while. If you are unable to go with them, arrange for someone to pick them up. Some day care facilities have a mini bus or taxi scheme, or you could ask social services to provide some help on those days.

If the help is in the person’s home, giving the helper a different name other than a ‘carer’ may help. Most providers are very used to being called something else like a ‘friend’ (maybe of yours), a companion, a secretary or something else that is meaningful to the person with dementia. If you still have problems try the ‘in it together’ approach, for example, ‘I really need some help with my housework shall we share the same person?’ or ‘it would really help me if someone could call to check you are ok over the next few months as it is winter/ I will be on holiday and I will worry’. Although it can be very frustrating, try not to judge or challenge the person. Sometimes it can be better to arrange for someone to call and introduce themselves saying that they know you.

Always use a regulated provider to ensure the helper is trained and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checked. It is wise to request a Community Care Assessment from the local Social Services before you introduce any help into person’s home.