Welcome back Careblazer. Today’s post is going to be short and right to the point. This is something that’s come up recently with some of my Care Course members and I want to share it with all of you here because it’s super important.
Most people who start caring for a loved one with dementia have to learn to deal with some pretty unusual or challenging behaviors that they’ve never had to deal with before. Things like seeing things that aren’t there, paranoia, fear of things happening that aren’t real, stopping someone from doing things that are dangerous and so on. I’m guessing you can probably list of several different behaviors that you’ve been trying to “solve” or figure out or stop. I’ve done many different videos on my YouTube channel on how to respond to those behaviors...what are sometimes referred to as “dementia behaviors.” You can find those videos at this link.
This video is about something different. It’s about dementia behaviors and human emotions. Just because your loved one has dementia, it doesn’t mean they stop feeling. It doesn’t mean their feelings can’t get hurt. It doesn’t mean they can’t be in pain.
I think because we are so often in the mode of trying to solve difficult dementia related behaviors, when your loved one is experiencing a challenge one of the first things you want to do is try to fix that challenge or fix their emotions or help their distress or pain go away. It makes total sense. You love your loved one. You care for your loved one. You don’t want them to hurt and so much about what you’ve been doing has probably been around trying to calm and comfort your loved one about something they think is happening that isn’t actually happening.
But sometimes, the thing IS actually happening. Sometimes there is nothing to “solve” for. There is nothing to fix and sometimes your loved one will have pain and challenges.
For example, one Careblazer was sharing how her loved one is hurt that one of his friends recently accused him of something he didn’t do and has started to shun him in in the senior living facility. Her loved one is hurt. Her loved one is feeing grief for not being able to eat at the same table with the friends that he’s used to eating with. He’s going through true loss. There is nothing to solve here. There is nothing to fix. This is a situation where you comfort and offer support.
Sometimes the way we respond to our loved ones with dementia is exactly the way you would respond to any loved one. Even those without dementia. Sometimes, there is nothing you can say or do to make their pain go away. it ‘s hard I know but they are going to have to go through their process just like any person would. It’s totally normal.
Another Careblazer was telling me how her mom was having such a hard time adjusting to her cognitive changes. Her mom is aware of how difficult basic things have become. Her mom is aware of how things that used to be easy are no longer easy. Her mom has some frustration and sadness about that. The Careblazer wanted to know what to do. Imagine if you all of a sudden had a condition where you were unable to do things that used to be easy for you. Imagine if basic things all of a sudden were so challenging you needed help from someone else. It makes total sense that you’d feel frustrated and sad at times.
So the basic takeaway message here is simple. It’s simple but painful. It’s painful for your loved one and painful as the Careblazer watching your loved one go through this.
People with dementia still have very real emotions. People with dementia can still experience pain, sadness and grief about things that are happening or have happened and sometimes there is absolutely nothing you can do to take that away. But you can support them. Comfort them. Be there for them. Just as you would do for any other person you love and allow them to go through their process, sometimes that’s what you’re loved one will need as well.
You are doing amazing Careblazer. Even if your loved one experineces some pain from time to time. Keep loving them. That’s the best thing to do in many situations.
I’m curious, Careblazer. Have you ever had a situation like this where your loved one with dementia was having a very real reaction to something that has happened and you felt pressure that you had to fix it or solve it? Let me know in the comments below.
And be sure to download your free careblazer survival guide for some of my favorite tips. Click the link here to download!
I’ll be back next week.
Love to you all.