Relationships that were difficult before dementia

Not all relationships are easy.  Read our guidance on how to cope with existing relationships that were difficult before dementia. 

You may have had relationships that were difficult before you had dementia. For example, you or the other person might have had problems with alcohol or other drugs, or with mental illness. Your relationship may even have been abusive at times.

Any problems are not likely to go away just because you have dementia. This can make it hard for some people to want to take on a caring role. They may carry negative feelings from the past. This can affect how they feel now. When you have difficulties because of your dementia, they may be less tolerant.

If you have had a difficult relationship with a person who is still in your life, try to get help to develop a healthy and safe relationship with them now you have dementia. You could look for support from a counsellor, or ask other family members or friends to be part of any conversations you have with the person.

If your relationship has been abusive and you are worried about this happening again, it is important to talk to someone. Consider whether you want the person to care for you.

What to do if relationship problems develop

Some people with dementia find that problems develop in one or more of their relationships. Talking to the other person can often help, but sometimes you might feel you need support from other people to help with these problems.

You can find help from different services. There are peer support groups (for example dementia cafés), dementia support workers at your local Alzheimer’s Society, or counsellors.

To find services in your local area, you use our service finder tool or ask your GP.

Helpline and Talking Point

National Dementia Helpline
Our helpline advisers are here for you.
Talking Point
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