How Being Friends With Someone Who Has Dementia Can Be Good For You Both

Fear and optimism.

Usually it is fear that one associates with dementia, rather than optimism. In reading an article by Janelle Taylor, a different chord is struck. A chord that focuses on relationship building and placing an emphasis on the need for friendships and social interaction with those having been diagnosed with dementia.

As it turns out, if one lives into their 90’s, there is roughly a 40% chance that they will get some form of dementia. It is vital that social interactions need to continue, not shied away from, and be strengthened, rather than focus on the fear of the diagnosis. It is easy to assume it is an end of life type diagnoses because of when it typically happens in one’s life. But, taking the time to bring a mindful focusing on the relationship aspect allows room for growth and understanding for everyone involved, not to mention a deeper and more enriched quality of life for the individual with dementia. We all seek human comfort and bonding. And for those with dementia, it doesn’t need to be an end of life Amish style shunning, but rather a reason for greater bonding and opportunity for learning.

The article points out that relationship building, as well as a desire for greater understanding and compassion should be what we all strive for no matter what life throws at us. It’s especially necessary when facing dementia head-on with a loved one.

Key Points:

  • 1Dementia affects approximately 14 percent of individuals over the age of 71.
  • 2Friendships and support systems for people with this condition are all the more important as few viable treatment options are available thus far.
  • 3Relationships with friends who have dementia can not only endure, but change and grow over time, to the betterment of all concerned.

In the U.S., people with dementia are often rhetorically and metaphorically likened to zombies, and dementia is often described as a condition ambiguously positioned between life and death.

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