9. Forming new relationships
Sometimes relationships break down between people with dementia and their partners. Some partners will opt to continue caring for a person even if their relationship has ended. This situation may be relatively simple for people to accept, or it may lead to conflict and distress for both parties, and for their families. It's important that both parties seek support and have an opportunity to talk about what they are feeling. You may wish to contact Alzheimer's Society's National Dementia Helpline or Relate, a voluntary group that offers confidential relationship counselling and advice (see 'Other useful organisations' for details). Alternatively, your GP surgery may offer a counselling service.
Forming new relationships in care homes
People with dementia in care homes may form new sexual relationships with other care home residents. As long as both parties agree and have capacity to consent to these relationships, then care home staff should respect such relationships.
It may be difficult for staff to balance residents' needs for privacy against their need to be cared for and looked after. For example, a person may need assistance washing and bathing directly following sex. Staff should also respect the confidentiality of relationships between residents and do not have to disclose information to relatives and other parties.