When considering the impact dementia can have on a person with a learning disability, it is common to look at the physical implications a diagnosis will have as well as the disruptions it will inevitably cause to the person’s routine and the activities of daily living. However, what is less commonly considered is the emotional impact of a diagnosis; not only in terms of how it will make the person feel, but how the diagnosis can impact the person’s mood, emotions and behaviour.
As well as showing signs of confusion, the person might become angry, difficult or frustrated and it is important to keep the approach person-centred by always considering why the person is displaying certain behaviours. If the person isn’t able to communicate verbally, is their behaviour trying to reveal how they’re feeling, or that a need isn’t being met? Is it due to a lack of understanding or fear, with the person not being able to comprehend why they can no longer do the things they used to be able to do? Or does the person simply not want to do something, even if they might have wanted to do it pre-diagnosis?
In the second part of this series, Sarah Lancaster, Registered Manager, explains that by building a relationship with the person and continuously reflecting on how the emotional needs of the person can best be met and understood, we can ensure that the person receives the support which is best suited to them.