Tips on Coping with Dementia in Your Family - DementiaGuide.com
Posted on June 11, 2008 by DementiaGuide
Coping with Dementia in Your FamilyOnce a diagnosis of dementia has been made, a family has to learn ways of coping with dementia. This can be particularly challenging when a family has three generations who have been diagnosed. The most important thing a family dealing with dementia can do is remain supportive of each other. Every family member will react differently. At times, emotions may be volatile, but understanding about the disease and its symptoms goes a long way toward alleviating the fear and anger that often accompanies a diagnosis.
Get the Facts for EveryoneThe physician treating the person with dementia can be a valuable source of information on what the family can expect as symptoms progress. Ask for information geared toward the individual with dementia as well as information to address common concerns of family members and children. Support groups for Alzheimer's and other dementias can be located on the Internet.
Don't Let Caregivers Get OverwhelmedCaregivers often feel obligated to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the person they are caring for. Unfortunately, when they do this other members of the family can feel neglected. If you are a caregiver, be sure you remember to take care of yourself and other family members. Do not be afraid to ask for help. It is essential to everyone's well-being that you remain in good health and can balance your care responsibilities with your own happiness.
Family MeetingsDealing with dementia on a daily basis can be demanding. Regular family meetings can help clear the air before things reach a breaking point. Children and teens may express frustration or anger, which is perfectly normal. Allowing them time to discuss their emotions will help them feel more in control. Be sure part of the time is spent praising everyone's contributions, discussing positive signs you've seen in the person with dementia, and talking about possible solutions to dilemmas. Refrain from using this time to give out new orders or chores.
Don't Ignore the Obvious
The worst thing a family can do when coping with dementia is ignore the situation. If a parent or grandparent has dementia, the children and grandchildren need to face the reality of the situation. Even young children can sense when an adult has begun to develop memory loss and personality changes. If caregivers and other family members pretend nothing is wrong, children may assume there is something shameful about the situation, which can lead to emotional problems down the line. Have open, honest discussions with everyone in the family and book an appointment with a physician to get answers you need for your care planning.
The more a family talks and works together, the better able they will be to handle the stress and complexities of dementia.