This brings us to the various positions you can take when caring for a person living with dementia. As a Sherpa you will likely take up all of these from time to time. Being in a relationship with someone we need to be flexible. Try to avoid becoming stuck in one position or think you should be a certain type of carer or behave a certain way all the time. It may be that you have the idea of how a carer should act from watching someone you admire or perhaps you only know of one person who has cared for a person with dementia and they did it this way, or this way. So I should be like that. This will only make things worse for you both and cause problems, conflicts and upsets for both of you.
If we think of a compass there are many points around it. There are also many ways you can be with someone with dementia. On a relationship compass you will need to move around the many possible positions for you to maintain the person with dementia and yourself in a condition of wellbeing. This requires flexibility and timing to use the right position or approach at the right time. Have a look at Figure 1.
There are many ways you can be with the person with dementia, depending on the situation. Let’s look at each of four situations that are common. You might like to add your own combinations or relabel the positions here to make sense for your relationship.
Next posts will explore each type of relationship in turn