Many families have some idea of the challenges of caring for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. Assisting with meal preparation, dressing, and bathing are expected, and many realize that their loved one will experience changes in mood and behavior as the disease progresses. However, not much attention is paid to the equally important, but less obvious issue of psychological support for the patient’s family.
Ambiguous Loss and Grief
One common psychological challenge that families of those with Alzheimer face is something called “ambiguous loss and grief”. This is when the family of an Alzheimer’s patient experiences sadness and a sense of loss as the person they care about becomes a stranger as the result the advancing disease. It is referred to as ambiguous because these feelings seldom arise over any one specific aspect of the disease. Instead, they evolve and become stronger as the reality sets in that the loved one is becoming increasingly less responsive and has little chance of improvement.
Coping with New Emotions
Feelings of ambiguous loss and grief are a natural reaction when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize the effects of these feelings. One of the best steps is to become familiar with the general stages through which Alzheimer’s progresses. It is reassuring to know what to expect. Understand that there will always be ups and downs, and don’t be afraid to reach out to others when the stress of caring becomes too great.
If you are unsure of where to turn for help, consider at-home care from Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati. Caregivers are highly trained in how to care for seniors with Alzheimer’s and can assist with a variety of activities from meal preparation and light housekeeping to medication reminders and transportation. Families can take the breaks they need while enjoying the peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved one is in safe and caring hands.
Don’t Forget the Rewards
While caregiving is not an easy task, it is one that can be extremely rewarding with the right support systems in place. By being prepared, arming yourself with knowledge about the disease and making sure that you are able to take a step back from your caregiving responsibilities, you can better cope with the grief often associated with Alzheimer’s care, while providing your loved one with the care they need and deserve.
For more information about Cincinnati Alzheimer’s home care, call a friendly Care Manager at 513-891-2273. We are available to answer your questions 24/7 and offer free, no-obligation consultations where we can further discuss care needs and options ranging from hourly to 24 hour home care.