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You may not know these things about living with someone with dementia

15th March 2022 Print

Dementia impacts 55% of people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Many consider it to be the longest and most difficult goodbye. While you may read a lot about dementia online, there are things many people don’t typically talk about when it comes to this disease.

Let’s take a closer look in the points below:

1. Showing Affection

As the disease progresses, it can be difficult to give and receive affection from your loved one. They may become combative or won’t recognize the person they are with. There are plenty of other ways to help show your love, though.

Gift-giving is a wonderful act of love. Giving gifts can sometimes be a struggle, but there are plenty of gifts seniors will love. DailyCaring is a great resource that offers a list of gift ideas for seniors with dementia. Their focus is to provide helpful content for caregivers and seniors with dementia.

According to DailyCaring, their list offers “dozens of product suggestions for people at all levels of cognitive ability.”

2. It’s Not Technically Lying

A lot of people think you have to lie to someone with dementia. In fact, it’s entirely different when you’re stepping into their own reality. The brain of someone with a form of dementia perceives the world much differently than you do.

It alters how they process information and makes things difficult to understand. Rather than trying to explain something or get them to understand, it can be easier for both people if you try to be a part of their world instead.

3. You Can’t Do It All

When you love someone who suffers from dementia, you more than likely have tried it all. You’ve tried to perfect how and when they like to eat their meals or navigated how to properly get them to shower.

Eventually, it becomes incredibly burdensome on the one who is the full-time caregiver. It feels like giving up when you have to make the difficult decision to move them into a facility. But the truth is, you can’t do it all.

When it becomes a hazard to both you and your loved one’s health, safety, and livelihood, having the help of a facility with a professional nursing staff can be the best option. 

4. They Like to Wander

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 6 out of 10 people with dementia will wander, which can happen at any point throughout the disease. They could get up at random hours of the day or night ready to take a long walk, even if it’s something they’ve never done before.

This is because they tend to become more anxious or irritable, which can manifest into different behaviors such as strange sleep patterns, verbal outbursts, and of course, wandering.

It can be difficult to try and regain their attention to walk them back home. This is why it’s important that when the wandering starts to happen that you can provide a secure environment where they can’t go outside unless someone is with them.

Otherwise, it could also be a sign that it might be time to consider a facility.

5. Sundowner’s Syndrome Can Happen Regularly

Sundowner’s syndrome, also known as sundowning, can be very tough on your loved one. During the late afternoon into the evening, they might start to become more disoriented than usual.

It could lead to depression and anxiety, which results in more wandering or other outbursts you may not expect. It’s difficult to see someone you love struggle in this state.

While it can’t always be predicted as to what days it’ll happen, it’s important to be prepared to know that this may be a regular occurrence.

6. The Final Decline Happens Fast

At first, the early signs of dementia might seem manageable for the caregiver. They still have an idea of who you are and can tell you stories about their past.

These are the earlier stages of the disease. However, when the final decline begins to happen, it can happen rather quickly.

The last few stages can impact the ability to maintain balance and manage their orientation. Speech can become difficult as they try to find the right words to make a coherent sentence.

Eventually, the brain has difficulty getting other parts of the body to do their normal functions; they need full twenty-four-hour assistance, which can come on rapidly.


There’s a lot they don’t tell you about dementia. Being a caregiver and family member of someone who has this disease is heartbreaking. The most important piece of advice is to prepare yourself for what is ahead. For example, start joining caregiver support groups.

Talk to your doctor about what you can expect. Keep track of your loved one’s progress in a journal to see changes in their daily routine. The more you know, read, and talk about the disease, the more you’ll be ready to take on its challenges.