Unfortunately, it isn't uncommon for a person with dementia to have to go to a funeral. People tend to start suffering from dementia as they get older, so you might find that the partner, sibling, or close friend of a person who was died has the condition.
If this is the case, it can be difficult to decide whether they should attend the funeral. On the one hand, it can be important for people to show their respects, and many patients will find it easier to process the loss if this is done. On the other hand, the situation may cause stress, and later-stage patients may cause a disruption that upsets other mourners.
Here are just four things to do to help the situation.
1. Speak to Their Doctor
Firstly, speak to their doctor about whether attending a funeral would be a good idea. If the person in question is in the latter stages of their illness, they might find the funeral more disorientating than someone who is at a relatively early stage. The best thing to do is to speak privately with their doctor to get some advice based around their general condition and recent behaviour.
2. See if a Viewing Can be Arranged
One of the best things to do in this situation is to have a private viewing arranged. If this is possible, it will give someone with dementia a chance to pay their respects and say goodbye without having to deal with the actual ceremony and a room full of people. If they do seem to handle the situation well, you can bring them to funeral itself; if not, you'll be able to rest assured that you made the right decision by not bringing them.
3. Let People Know and Understand
If you are the person who is organizing the funeral, it can be a good idea to let your guests, particularly your closer friends and family members, know that another guest is suffering from dementia. Any disruptions will be excused, and people will know how to react if they have a chance to speak. You should also consult with the closest family members or friends who are arranging the funeral if you are not.
4. Minimize Contact with Others
Though it can be healthy for people with dementia to speak to others, you should probably minimize the amount of contact they spend with other people at the funeral. Have them enter first or last, and then bring them home instead of attending the wake. Even for a member of the healthy population, it can be hard to keep track of and remember names, so imagine how much tougher and more stressful it can be for someone with dementia to mix with lots of people at once.