Visit loved ones with dementia even if they don't recognise you, charity urges

People with dementia can feel happier when a relative comes to see them even if they do not recognise the visitor, the Alzheimer’s Society has said after a poll showed many felt there was little point.

The survey found that more than 40 per cent of people incorrectly thought dementia patients who failed to recognise them “won’t benefit a lot” from visits, The Daily Telegraph reported.

But the charity said people retained an “emotional memory” despite the disease and that seeing loved ones could “stimulate feelings of familiarity, happiness, comfort and security”.

Nearly 70 per cent said they would visit relatives with dementia even if the patient did not appear to know them.

However the charity said: “Despite these good intentions, the lack of awareness of how important emotional memory is may mean that in their busy lives, people don’t always follow up on their intentions and over half of those living with dementia are left feeling isolated.”

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said the New Year could be “a bleak and lonely time” for dementia patients and their carers.

“It’s so important for people with dementia to feel connected throughout the year,” he said.

“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. We’re urging people to get in touch with us and find out how we can help you stay connected.”

Social interaction has been shown to cut the risk of developing dementia in scientific studies.

While people with the condition can forget negative and positive incidents, the feeling they produce can remain for some time.

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