Dementia is a complicated illness, and it can be an emotionally draining task to care for someone with the diseasecare for someone with the disease. But it can also be highly rewarding to be there for a loved one in times of need. People often talk about the dos and don’ts of dementia care. But there is a distinctly emotional aspect to caring for someone with dementia, especially if they are extremely close to you, such as a parent or guardian. Here are some types of thoughts that you might have while looking after them and how to deal with them:
Thoughts on feeling isolated
When you are a full-time caregiver for someone, it is easy to end up feeling alienated from everyone else, who seem to be living fun and stress-free lives. It is hard to ask for support from friends and family and reach out about how your day has been or how you have been feeling. Even if you feel like you are burdening others with your thoughts, it is healthy to ask for help and share your feelings. This is a mechanism that will help you cope. If you are a professional caregiver for people with dementia, it is also equally likely that you will be emotionally affected. You may develop a close relationship with a patient, and their disease may be extra hard on you. Never be afraid to ask for help from professionals if necessary.
Denial about the prognosis
If your mom or dad has dementia, it may be easy to ignore the disease as it progresses gradually. You might neglect or refuse to notice the signs. But denial is not the best coping mechanism. Being in denial about the prognosis of the disease may lead you to have a sudden breakdown when it all becomes too much to ignore. Instead, face yourself with the reality a little at a time. Do research on how the disease works so that you know what to expect. Also, think about what you can do to make their life better in a way they can enjoy it fully. Speak to yourself out loud about what you are afraid of and how certain things make you feel. Talk to someone about these or join a support group.
Doubts related to caregiving
This is particularly applicable if you have sent your loved one to a dementia residential care home or a facility where they are away from you. You might have thoughts about whether the care they are receiving is appropriate or whether you should have taken care of them yourself. When these thoughts arise, evaluate them realistically instead of guilting yourself. Make sure that you are doing the best that you could be doing and that you have placed them in a good home. Remember that it is normal to feel like you are not enough, but this is not the reality.
There are lots of other thoughts that will come up. It is an emotional journey for you as a caregiver. Just remember that it is okay to feel frustrated or tired as long as you have a way of processing these emotions.