New study highlights feelings of isolation in people with Alzheimer’s
A new report from the Alzheimer’s Society has shed light on the feelings of isolation that are commonly felt by people with dementia.
The charity’s survey of 300 people affected by dementia indicated that 64 per cent of those living with the condition felt isolated from friends and family following a diagnosis, with 54 per cent of people saying they were no longer taking part in any – or hardly any – social activities.
Despite this, 42 per cent of members of the general public stated a mistaken belief that dementia patients do not benefit much from visiting, due to the fact that many individuals with Alzheimer’s have memory impairments that prevent them from recognising their loved ones.
However, 41 per cent of acknowledged that being unable to recognise close friends and family would make them feel most isolated, while 68 per cent say they would still visit someone with dementia who no longer recognised them, either just as much or even more often than they do now.
Meanwhile, 48 per cent of those with dementia said that what would help them most to stay connected is seeing family and friends more often, while 51 per cent said having someone to help them take part in activities and hobbies would be of greatest benefit.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “New Year can be a bleak and lonely time for people with dementia and their carers. It’s so important for people with dementia to feel connected throughout the year.
“Spending time with loved ones and taking part in meaningful activities can have a powerful and positive impact, even if they don’t remember the event itself.”
Although many people with dementia find it difficult to recognise the faces of friends and family members, they will often still hold an emotional memory of their meeting, meaning they will continue to feel happy long after a visit or experience of which they may have forgotten the details.