When a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, it can be difficult to process the wide array of emotions that follow. Your feelings of fear, helplessness, and sadness may be overwhelming — but there are ways to manage the feelings of grief and loss while they are still living.
Dementia is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that causes a decline in cognitive functions such as memory, behavior, and problem-solving. When someone close to you has dementia, understanding the disease — and its effects on them ― can be challenging. In addition to memory impairments and personality changes that your loved one might suffer from due to dementia, family members may also experience grief for their loss even before passing away.
It can be painful to watch a loved one struggle with dementia. Knowing how to effectively manage these feelings can help make caring for your loved one easier. Here’s what you need to know about managing feelings of grief and loss while the person is still alive.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
It is important to recognize and acknowledge your feelings of grief and loss. Allow yourself to feel the emotions that come up, such as sadness, anger, or fear. You may also experience guilt for feeling these emotions when your loved one is still alive. It’s important to remember that it’s normal to have these feelings and it doesn’t mean that you don’t care for your loved one.
Talk to Someone
Talking to a trusted friend or family member can help you process your feelings and provide emotional support. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone close to you, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor.
Taking care of yourself is essential when dealing with grief and loss. Make sure to get enough rest, eat healthy meals, and exercise regularly. Taking time for yourself can help you manage your emotions and cope with the stress of caring for a loved one with dementia.
Joining a support group or online community can be beneficial in managing feelings of grief and loss. Talking to others who are going through similar experiences can help you feel less alone and provide a sense of understanding.
It is important to find joy in the moments that you have with your loved one. Spend quality time together, reminisce about old memories, or do activities that they enjoy. Finding joy in the present can help you cope with the grief and loss of the future.
Discover a continuum of care at Oasis Dementia Care
By acknowledging your feelings, talking to someone, practicing self-care, finding support, and finding joy in the present, you can manage your feelings of grief and loss while your loved one is still alive. Remember that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed by these emotions — but with the right support and coping strategies, you can get through this difficult time.
At Oasis Dementia Care, our mission is to provide the highest level of care for our neighbors and to also assist Tristate families that are dealing with dementia. We strive to get to know you and we care about providing the best care possible. If you’re interested in learning more about the community at Oasis Dementia Care, please contact us.