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Dealing With Dementia and Guilt

Seeing a loved one diagnosed with Alzherimer’s disease or dementia is a challenging process, especially if you’re acting as a caregiver. It’s pretty common to feel guilty about seeing someone you care about suffer from cognitive decline.

However, it’s essential to overcome this feeling to maintain your own mental health and provide supportive, loving care to your elderly loved one.

Let’s discuss how you can tackle feelings of guilt when caring for an older loved one with dementia to protect your mental and emotional well-being.

Recollecting past events before diagnosis

A dementia diagnosis can be jarring to everyone in your family. Your first instinct might be to recollect times when you weren’t kind to your older loved one or situations where you didn’t spend enough time with them. It’s easy to feel guilty when faced with the prospect of someone you care about never being quite the same again.

However, you must remember to forgive yourself. Arguments are a natural part of our family life. It happens with all families. You didn’t know your older loved one would one day be diagnosed with dementia – we don’t often think that these severe conditions can affect those around us. Your focus should now be on caring for your loved one and spending as much quality time together as possible.

Taking space and time for yourself

Taking care of an older person with dementia is a tough job. It can be overwhelming and requires constant dedication to ensure they get the best care possible. In the process of giving your time to take care of your loved one, you might feel like you’re not having enough time for yourself.

You shouldn’t ever feel guilty about these thoughts. Taking time for yourself is vital to ensuring you don’t burn out. Staying fresh and active is also crucial to keeping a positive image in front of your loved one. If you need time for yourself, consider asking family and friends to step in or get a professional caregiver to provide support.

Getting angry or frustrated at your loved one

People with dementia can often act irrationally or be rude to you. This isn’t because they suddenly became a bad person, but because the condition causes impulse control issues. Naturally, you might feel angry or frustrated if your older loved one refuses to cooperate or says something inappropriate.

Sometimes, the frustration might even cause you to talk back to your loved one, which usually leaves you feeling guilty later when you’ve had time to calm down. One of the best ways to handle this is by implementing strategies that avoid these issues.

You might have some control over why your loved one is being difficult. For example, if they resist suggestions such as eating lunch or getting dressed, try to identify why they are unhappy and work toward a solution. In terms of inappropriate comments, it’s important to remember that they don’t have as much control over their behaviour. Aggressive language is quite common with people experiencing cognitive decline. Maintaining a good sense of humour about what they say is the best way forward.

Not feeling up to the task or ill-prepared

You need to know a lot about the condition if you plan to care for someone with dementia. You might not feel you have enough time to prepare to provide proper care. Helping with simple, everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, and medication might seem like an overwhelming prospect – and it’s perfectly natural. However, if at first you’re second-guessing your ability to support someone with dementia, you may start to feel guilty.

Understand that you’re having these thoughts because you care about your loved one, and you want to make sure they’re comfortable and getting the best care possible. If you feel guilty for being unprepared or ill-equipped to deal with care, there are plenty of in-person and online training opportunities to bring you up to speed. You can also join a support network of people going through similar experiences and check in with them when you’re unsure how to handle a particular situation.

Feeling bad for hiring professional in-home care

Finally, one situation that can cause significant guilt is hiring a professional in-home caregiver to look after your loved one. You and your family might feel like you’ve betrayed the person or haven’t done enough to take care of them. However, the truth is that you’re actually giving them the 24/7 professional supervision they require, especially as the disease progresses and their needs increase.

Also, consider that with a professional doing all the heavy lifting, you can focus less on care needs and enjoy more quality time with the older adult. Quality time leads to more happy memories you can cherish for years to come.

In-home Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton

It’s okay to admit that you’re feeling overwhelmed when providing care for an elderly loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. When you need extra support, give CareHop a call. Our team specializes in providing in-home Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care, as well as services such as homemaking and meal preparation, personal care, activities, and casual companionship that will bring peace of mind to your family.

Learn more about our respectful, empathetic eldercare services by getting in touch with CareHop today. We’d love to discuss how our approach to quality dementia care can make a positive difference to your elderly loved one and family.

About the Author

Michael Lu is the founder of CareHop. He started the business inspired by his Grandmother to look at ageing as a happy experience to bring sunshine into the homes of others.

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