Being Friends with Someone Who Has Dementia Benefits You Both

Each year, in the final few hours of the last day of December, many people all across North America gather with friends to raise a glass and sing Robert Burns’ famous ballad, “Auld Lang Syne.” Standing at the brink of a New Year, arms around each other, they ask: “Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?”The question is meant to be rhetorical, of course – the answer is “No.” The years may pass, but we should hold on to our friends.For many older adults, however, this question takes on a different meaning, as they confront the onset of dementia in a friend. Dementia, which afflicts an estimated 3.8 million people in the U.S. alone, affects cognitive abilities such as language and memory that are often understood as the necessary foundation for individual identity and human personhood.As such, dementia raises questions about what are the boundaries of the human, what is required to have meaningful social relationships and more generally what makes life worth living (or no longer worth living).

Source: Being Friends with Someone Who Has Dementia Benefits You Both – Scientific American

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