As caregivers, we spend a lot of time trying to understand the emotional changes our loved ones with dementia are experiencing. But just as important to understand is the emotional upheaval we as caregivers are going through.
It’s normal to feel loss when someone you care about has Alzheimer’s disease. It’s also normal to feel guilty, abandoned, and angry. It’s important to acknowledge these emotions and know that you may start to experience them as soon as you learn of the diagnosis.
Alzheimer’s gradually changes the way you relate to the person you know and love. As this happens, you’ll mourn him or her and may experience the stages of grieving: denial, anger, guilt, sadness, and acceptance. These stages of grief don’t happen neatly in order. You’ll move in and out of different stages as time goes on. Some common experiences in the grieving process include:
- Hoping that the person is not ill
- Expecting the person will get better
- Convincing yourself that the person hasn’t changed
- Attempting to normalize problematic behaviors
- Frustration with the person
- Resenting the demands of caregiving
- Resenting family members who can’t…
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