I have lost count of the number of times I have gone in to people’s houses and found them questioning the validity of decades of marriage because neither understood the impact of the dementia upon the relationship. What do we do about it? We separate people. We send one off to respite or day care or into hospital for assessment. Then we send people back together equally ill-equipped to cope with the same unattended antagonisms. We resign ourselves to the fact that nothing can be done about a couple whom we perceive to be ‘always fighting
The Getting Along© programme will work with couples TOGETHER on the unattended antagonisms that frequently occur within relationships where one partner has a dementia. This can often result in the person with dementia losing a voice within their own home, gaps between respite and crises shortening and an avoidable early and permanent separation.
AIMS of the Getting Along© programme
To gain a more balanced picture of both sides of the caregiving relationship
To help couples spot potential antagonisms within the relationships and attend to them
To highlight an area of support that is needed yet hitherto not provided.
To create what could then be a self-sustaining user group for couples.
First, to enable dyads to broach subjects they had not been able to discuss
to facilitate conversation on an equal footing for both participants.
Two-thirds of people with dementia live in community settings yet there is frequently a disproportionate investment in long term care as opposed to community care settings. York is no exception. The huge local authority investment in commissioning two new long term care facilities for under 200 beds may well indeed be necessary but according to the Alzheimer’s Society 2013 there are 2,700 people living with dementia in York.
The Getting Along© programme can go some way to redressing that imbalance of investment and provide important practical support in and around the time of diagnosis – a period which is often somewhat a bit of a no man’s land.
A little more info on the programme:
I will be working with 4 couples and visiting each couple in their own home up to 5 times each.
During those visits I will carry out a short series of semi-structured interviews with both parties TOGETHER.
I will follow up these visits with a series of group meetings attended by all 4 couples
I would request referrals from any source for couples struggling to come to terms with the presence of a dementia in the relationship. The preference is for those couples most recently diagnosed or those just accessing services for the first time.