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Common Themes

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. 
Discussion Quotes

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.
Discussion Quotes

Stigma

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.
Discussion Quotes

Describing Dementia

Over the years, particularly in our groups for people with dementia, we have been amazed at the ability to describe life with dementia. 
Discussion Quotes

Understanding 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

Understanding Caregiving

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

Finding Support

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.
Discussion Quotes

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. 
Discussion Quotes

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.
Discussion Quotes

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.
Discussion Quotes

Unsupportive Comments

Without Warning members have often discussed comments they receive from other's that are not helpful. 
Discussion Quotes

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.
Discussion Quotes

Daily Life

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.
Discussion Quotes

Reading Issues

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.
Discussion Quotes

Grieving and Loss

Living with the changes of dementia can bring the feelings of grief and loss. 
Discussion Quotes

Changes in Relationships

Dementia is not experienced solely by the person diagnosed, but has a great impact on all relationships.
Discussion Quotes

Fatigue

A common theme expressed in all the Without Warning groups has been fatigue. This is an exhausting experience for all involved.
Discussion Quotes

Common Issues of Younger Onset

There are common experiences of living with dementia at a young age. 
Discussion Quotes

Self Care

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. 
Discussion Quotes

Discussion Questions

  •  The Pit "Alzheimer's feels like I've fallen into a deep pit. I can see everyone but can't figure how to get back to them". The Pit "Alzheimer's feels like I've fallen into a deep pit. I can see everyone but can't figure how to get back to them".
  • Social Circles "As the disease progresses, our world gets smaller." Social Circles "As the disease progresses, our world gets smaller."
  • The Stage "I have to do so much behind the scenes for my person with dementia." The Stage "I have to do so much behind the scenes for my person with dementia."
  • This clip for the documentary Too Soon to Forget, shows the struggles in power and relationships which can happen with dementia.
  • Members of Without Warning share what it is like to be told that it's Alzheimer's disease.
  • Members of Without Warning share what can happen to friendships when living with Alzheimer's disease.
  • Members of the Without Warning support group share what it was like to hear the diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease.