As a Dementia Support Group Facilitator, you will start to notice common themes expressed by either people with dementia and/or the caregivers. These themes or topics can be expressed differently if the person has dementia or is a caregiver, if the person is in the beginning of the experience or has lived with it for many years. Being able to recognize and refer to these themes often adds depth to the conversation.
Common Themes From Without Warning
- Receiving the diagnosis, sharing the news, and stigma
- Changes in power within relationships
- Changes in communication and abilities
- Everyday life
- Grief and loss
- Self care
In order to help encourage conversation on these themes, we have created printable pages with a variety of quotes from people, books, movies, songs, poems, and Without Warning sessions. At times, you might want to use quotes to encourage deeper conversation.
When we first started Without Warning, we would often bring quotes in case there was a lag in conversation.
Feel free to use for your group sessions and send us any quotes you would like us to add to the list.
Receiving the Diagnosis
Hearing that it's Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia can bring out a variety of emotions for the person and their family members.
Sharing the News
The ability to share the news that it is dementia can come at different points for each person. In Without Warning, we have seen that people early in the experience might need some time to adjust themselves before they talk with others about the diagnosis.
Often sharing the diagnosis of dementia is difficult. Being uncomfortable to share can come for many reasons. Discussing these reasons in group can be helpful. Those who have already shared the news with others can help those who haven't done so yet.
Over the years, particularly in our groups for people with dementia, we have been amazed at the ability to describe life with dementia.
Many within a support group are looking for information about dementia - the causes, symptoms and treatments, to name a few. The National Institute on Aging has many helpful resources.
Resources on Dementia
Without a support group family members are often looking for resources on caregiving. The National Institute on Aging has many helpful resources.
Resources on Caregiving
Probably members of your groups could add to these quotes but many living with dementia will speak to the importance of finding support and others who understand.
Change in Abilities
Dementia will bring changes in the person's abilities. These changes could include tasks around the home, activities of daily living, and beyond.
Changes in Communication
For both the person with dementia and their family members, learning to adjust to the changes in communication can last throughout the experience.
Changes in Mood
Mood can change for both the person with dementia and their caregivers. Being able to recognize and share those changes can be helpful.
Without Warning members have often discussed comments they receive from other's that are not helpful.
Change in Friendships
Dementia can be a lonely experience. Part of the reason for that is that friends aren't sure how to stay connected and, as a result, many lose contact as the disease progresses.
Although many think about dementia as a problem concerning only memory, its impact is much broader and has an effect on all aspects of daily life.
For some with dementia, the ability to read and comprehend can change. This can be especially frustrating for those who enjoyed reading newspapers, magazines, or books.
Grieving and Loss
Living with the changes of dementia can bring the feelings of grief and loss.
Changes in Relationships
Dementia is not experienced solely by the person diagnosed, but has a great impact on all relationships.
A common theme expressed in all the Without Warning groups has been fatigue. This is an exhausting experience for all involved.
Common Issues of Younger Onset
There are common experiences of living with dementia at a young age.
We have found in the Without Warning group that caregivers, in particular, will not always talk about their own care. As facilitators, we need to encourage everyone to consider their own needs.