Coping with Reality
Caregiving inherently takes its toll on the caregiver: physically, mentally and emotionally. While dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia, you may experience difficult challenges over many years. Facing guilt, stress, *grief, and end-of-life issues are some of the most difficult.
But through it all, one must keep sight of the future: the HOPE that there will be a “World without Alzheimer’s.” Each of us CAN and MUST BE a part of that vision. RESEARCH is our HOPE!
*I believe that the person with an Alzheimer’s type dementia, the spouse, and the family all begin grieving very early in the disease process. Grieving comes from loss: loss that insidiously erodes more and more of a loved one. Grieving recognizes the loss of who the person used to be, the loss of shared dreams, the loss of the relationship as it once was, the loss of one’s own role as it used to be, and the loss of the “golden years.”
Grieving is on the Alzheimer caregiver’s time line. However, it is important the caregiver doesn’t get “stuck.” Hopefully the caregiver has become familiar with how to deal with dementia, obtained enough information about Alzheimer’s, and begun to “build new memories” while her loved one is still living. These steps will ease the very difficult transition during placement and the death of a loved one. Despite years of grieving and feeling one has “already grieved the loss,” many caregivers are unprepared for the depth of grief experienced with the finality of death.