chapter  Chapter 18
13 Pages

Can anything good be born of a dementia

Potential for reparation?
ByJane Garner

Health professionals concentrate on the multiple disabilities occasioned by dementia. Although understandable, perhaps this approach omits greater consideration of aspects of the person, the self unaffected by the disease process - thinking beyond the medical model. The patient will have emotional memories if not cognitive ones. Many losses occur in the course of the dementia, perhaps some losses may uncover something previously buried, qualities not hitherto expressed. The chapter uses references and a clinical illustration of mother and daughter to examine this subject. The state of mind of the carer/relative is vital in influencing the state of mind of the patient, however fragmented and in a state of terror they feel. This is not to put an added burden on the relative, but if they are able to some extent to understand and contain the patient’s fears, the reward is felt in the relational world of both. Reparation in relationships can happen, the relative may be open to this and the patient continues as an emotional being despite the disease. Resolution, forgiveness and reconciliation may be possible between those involved. Higher cognitive skills are not necessary for these affective tasks and something good may be born despite the negative aspects of dementia.