Its hard to know where to start with the topic of Dementia. It affects people in such an individual way but with common threads that are recognisable to anyone who has known Dementia.
Dementia is not something that affects a single individual it is something that happens to an individual which affects whole families/loved ones.
There are stages to Dementia, there are up and downs on the path to where it is going. Just when you think that you have a handle on what’s going on, it has advanced and you are on the back foot again, needing to learn what to do now, today…and tomorrow. How to cope with this unknown, how to care for this loved one and the unknown that now comes with them. It is difficult for the person with Dementia t deal with this for themselves, but it is also so very difficult for the partner/family member or friend who is looking after their loved one.
Its often found that the main carer is lonely, run down or simply exhausted from the new requirements of life. Becoming educated on the subject of Dementia is a good starting point. It tends to alleviate the guilt feeling that occur when frustration for the loved one, and guilt for feeling angry at the loved one start to come into thoughts but reading about how natural that is does make it better on the person. We are all human not just the loved one. We do need to be compassionate on ourselves as well as the person we are looking after. We’re not superhuman, we have feelings, we get tired and we get hurt by the things that are happening around us. and that’s OK. When we feel frustrated, make sure that the person is safe and take a ten minute break to get yourself back together, count to ten and try and start the thing you were trying to do again. If this doesn’t work, you need to zone out for a moment and gather your thoughts that way.
One of the main things to keep you grounded is to remember not to take it personally. Whatever is going on, whatever is being said, you know that you are doing your best and that is good enough. Sometimes… nothing you’ll do is ‘good enough’ on that day and that is the type of day they are having, not the type of day you nee d to have. It sounds ridiculous really to say those things as if it was as easy as that… but it can be done. No-one is saying that its easy…but it can be done. To zone out and take your own pace, not to panic as if the loved ones ‘orders’ are the end of the world. Zoning out and allowing yourself to have your own thoughts for a while is looking after yourself and that’s OK.
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