Even when the problem is imagined, the hurt is real.
When caring for a loved one with dementia, there are several irrational behaviors that require a specialized response. Your response may require identifying imagined triggers and calming down your loved one. However, there are other instances when, though the negative behavior is rooted in their mental condition, the hurt is real.
- A loved one becomes frustrated about losing the ability to perform an activity that they recall being able to do without help.
- A loved one somehow believes something about someone that isn’t true and cannot be convinced otherwise.
Though rooted in a dementia-related cause, the corresponding negative emotions are quite real — unable to be explained away or soothed. So, what next?
The pain is real — so treat it as such.
It can be easy for the caretaker of someone with dementia to forget that sometimes people experience hurt not because they have dementia, but because they’re human. Whether they feel they’ve been belittled or they’re just upset because they can no longer operate a coffee maker, the hurt is genuine. The best response in these situations is the same support you’d provide for any frustrated friend or loved one.
Be there to listen.
Just like any friend who needs to vent about a problem they’re having at work or in a relationship, your loved one with dementia is no different. Genuinely listen to what is troubling them. More often than not, the sensation of being heard will help them feel better.
Many negative emotions simply need a listening ear. Others require a shoulder. When you can offer comforting support, do so not from the perspective of a caregiver but as a loved one or friend. When you feel it is appropriate, share a similar experience you’ve had and how you dealt with it. Offer to help in any way you can.
When in doubt, put yourself in their shoes.
Helping someone with dementia navigate negative emotions can be incredibly tricky. You’ll feel the need to consult every blog or book under the sun on the issue. Where should you start? Well, a good place to look is in their shoes. Look through their eyes and their thought process. The hurt you would be feeling is real and being told that it is imagined isn’t what you’d want to hear. Sometimes, a little role reversal can make all the difference in providing the most customized and loving care possible.
Not everything is dementia’s fault.
It can be easy to forget that, though a loved one is experienced advanced dementia, that their condition may not be the sole reason for their frustration or hurt. For this reason, it’s essential to treat the loved one as a person with genuine hurt and not just a person with a mental condition.
Palliative care and hospice services in the Greater Tulsa area.
When the time comes for requiring nurturing hospice and palliative care for your loved one, know that you and your family can trust the professional from Cura HPC. We treat every patient as we’d treat our own family — with compassion and the utmost care.