Caring for someone with dementia can be a difficult and intimidating experience. It’s true; the process can come with a lot of frustration, confusion, and feelings of inability when caring for a parent or elderly individual with dementia. But the love, respect, and patience showed to people with dementia can be an extraordinary way to help them through the process, and learning how to cope with the “new normal” of caring for a dementia patient can relieve a lot of stress and anxiety off of the caregiver, too.
If you’re finding it difficult to cope with a loved one’s dementia, opening yourself up to new methods of caring and understanding may be the remedy to the sleepless nights and hectic days you’ve been experiencing.
Below is some information on how to help yourself and your loved one as you navigate the process of caregiving.
Dealing with Frustration
Honesty – both with yourself and with your loved one – is essential throughout the whole process. The truth is, caregiving for someone with dementia is not an easy task. In fact, there are many times when it is challenging. But opening yourself up to the new circumstances is extremely important when caregiving. Remember, you are not an uncaring or unloving person because you struggle with the situation or are frustrated by the conditions.
The person living with dementia is not at fault for the difference in mood, personality, or actions. You have the responsibility and opportunity to show love and respect to someone battling this disorder, and it starts with honesty and understanding.
Capturing Your Thoughts For Good
At times, caring for a patient with dementia is frustrating. But sometimes the frustration we express is due to a slow, continual build-up of undealt with emotions. Learning to control our thoughts is vitally important in times of caregiving. Next time you find yourself frustrated when caring for your loved one, try to search within yourself and see if there is a deeper, underlying emotion at the root of the frustration.
One example of this is in how you respond when something doesn’t go well. Next time you have difficulty with a caregiving situation, don’t talk down to yourself and allow negativity to creep into your psyche. Instead, try reciting something like the following to yourself:
“Caregiving can be difficult, but I am doing my best to show love and care to the person who needs it. This moment is difficult, but it’s also a great opportunity to show love in the midst of difficulty.”
It’s important to remember that caregiving for a person with dementia is an ongoing process. Sometimes, it may seem as though there is no finish line. But every day is indeed a new opportunity to show love to the person in your life who may need it the most. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help, either. You do not have to navigate this process alone.