Caregivers often experience a deep sense of loss when they provide care for an individual with Alzheimer’s. Some days are promising while others are not. Feelings can run the gamut from utter sadness to cautious optimism. But, overarching them all is the constant grief that is part of Alzheimer’s disease. Here are a few ways to help you cope:
Accept your feelings. You may try to avoid these feelings, but being in denial and pushing feelings away will only prolong the pain.
Talk. Voice your feelings. If talking about your pain is too difficult, work with a therapist to help you express yourself. Sharing feelings will help to diminish them. Support groups can also give you the opportunity to speak with others who are on a similar journey.
Laugh. Spend some time with friends who make you laugh or watch a funny movie. Laughing will eliminate some of the stress and give you much-needed relief.
Preserve memories. Create an album that includes photos, quotes and any other wonderful memories of your loved one. You might even want to include your feelings.
Managing the final stages. You may feel a heavy sense of loss during the final stages of your loved one’s disease as you come to the realization that your relationship is almost over. It is normal to experience feelings of isolation, denial of the situation and sometimes relief.
Get help. Mygrief.ca is a comprehensive resource that has been put together by a team of grief experts and people who have suffered through many losses in their own lives. It includes personal stories, discussion forums where you can connect with caring people, as well as information about programs and services in Canada to help deal with grief. For more information, visit www.mygrief.ca.