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Spirituality and Religion | Doctor's Diary

A significant source of stress for those who care for a person with Alzheimer's disease is that they feel responsible for the behaviour of the person they care for. This is understandable, but distressing on several levels. In the first instance, particularly if you are caring for someone who you love and have known all your life as a competent adult, it can be quite shocking to see that they are not in control of their own behaviour. Because you care so much, you see their behaviour as a reflection of your care, as much as you would with a small child. The truth is, though, that no matter what you do, or how caring you might be, you are not the person that you care for and they are not you. They will have times when their behaviour will be beyond their own comprehension, much less their own control. Knowing how to accept this is one of the greatest challenges in caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease. It is also something that you can readily talk about with others who have been through it, because it is hard for those who have not been through it to understand.

Many people who are ill feel abandoned by God. This is an area in which spiritual counselling is necessary. One special consideration in dementia, however, is the feeling that the person is losing their faith at the same time that they are losing their capacity to believe. Given this, people usually feel better if they do not put off seeking spiritual help, even if to do so might at first seem awkward or even shameful. These feelings are well understood by spiritual counsellors, so if this is the position that you are in, do not be afraid to seek help.

See Also:
Symptom Library > Behaviour > Inappropriate Language and Behaviour
About Dementia > Alzheimer's Disease > Memory
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Last updated January 15, 2019
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