When person is diagnosed with a memory impairment there is both a sigh of relieve mixed with feelings of grief and loss.
A family who is dealing with a loved one who starts to show signs of forgetting, misplacing things, short term memory loss can intially think it is age related but as the symptoms increase and behavior starts to change, everyone begins to worry. Could this be dementia or Alzheimers?
Going to the doctor for diagnosis can provoke both feelings of relieve and sadness. Relief that the symptoms and behaviors are not diagnosed. A name, progression, expectation can be given and dealt with. Along with the reality of illness diagnosis comes the sadness and grief over loss of the life, the memory and the relationship.
Spouses can now understand why their partner acts the way he or she does but it does not make it easier to deal with. A name can be given to the illness that begins to take away the spirit and life of the one they lived for sometimes 50, 60 and even more years. Friends start to disappear sometimes not knowing what to say or how to handle the situation. Relatives may want to help but too feel bad and do not understand why the behaviors are changing and all of a sudden she or he is acting in such an odd way. Loss takes it toll on a family that is diagnosed with dementia.
A family diagnosed with dementia. Although it is one individual whose brain is changing from the illness, the entire family must change as well. Children realize they are no longer building relationships with mom or dad. Grandchildren try to visit but mom or dad doesn’t recognize them and may refer to them as their own children. Lots of confusion occurs in the family just as it does in the brain of the dementia diagnosed client. Families struggle to understand what is happening the same way the diagnosed person struggles with slowly losing memory, speech, walking and other abilities. Clients try to communicate with family members in the best way they know how but often it seems jumbled and does not make sense. Family members talk to clients and it sounds jumbled and it doesn’t make sense.
Dementia is a family illness. Everyone is affected and everyone struggles. We all need to have patience with each other as well as our family member who is diagnosed with such a devastating illness.