See Pain More Clearly Team
Valentines & Dementia - A Personal Story
Updated: Mar 15, 2021
The winter of 2017 was difficult for my parents who had dementia and were adjusting to living in long-term care. In addition to their cognitive challenges, Dad had profound hearing loss and Mom had significant vision loss - making it difficult for them to communicate well with each other as they had done throughout their married life. Dad was further along with cognitive decline than Mom, and she found it confusing to be with him for long as she did not understand his dementia or that he could not hear her well.
With these barriers in mind, our parents resided in different rooms in long-term care, as we could not keep them together anymore without significant stress for them both. However, we were committed to having them visit each other every day. Mom was still mobile during this time, and we went out together two or three times a week. With Valentine's decorations throughout the care home, we purchased a card for her to give to Dad on Valentine’s Day.
Mom was frustrated with our visit with Dad on February 13 as he had not been able to engage with her well that day. This was disappointing for Mom and difficult for me to explain. We then talked about the Valentine’s card she had for Dad, and she wanted to complete this on her own time and in her own way.
On Valentine’s Day, she gave Dad the Valentine and tears came to our eyes when we read the love letter that she had written to him. This meant so much to Mom and Dad, and our family still treasures this card and the wonderful and lasting relationship they shared.
My father had experienced skin breakdown in the months before this event, which resolved well with early and aggressive management. We were thankful that Dad was comfortable as this special moment would not have been possible if he was in pain. This is why we support the #SeePainMoreClearly team in its efforts to improve the lives of people with dementia.
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