Accepting Alzheimer’s may sound like an easy thing to do. After all your logical mind knows that your mom’s behaviors are simply part of the disease.
“Mom is not the same person she once was. Everyone tries to tell me she is still there inside. But I can’t see it. My mother was a kind person. She always treated everyone with respect. When I heard the things, she was saying and doing to the staff at the assisted living home I just couldn’t believe it. Then she started lashing out at us also. Calling me and my husband names. We have tried so hard to make her comfortable and to make sure her needs were always met. This is not my Mom. Someone has taken over her body.”
As Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) progresses it is common to see changes in mood and behavior. It can be hard enough what a loved one no longer recognizes you. But when your own Mother calls you ugly names and lashes out it can be unbearable. So how do you continue to love someone with this disease? How can you accept what is going on? Accepting Alzheimer’s takes a lot of hard work.
The First Step Is to Love Yourself
It is virtually impossible to truly love someone else unless you are able to love yourself first. This means accepting the fact that you cannot change the situation. It also means understanding that Mom’s behavior is in no way your fault.
Take A Time Out
Loving someone does not mean you try harder and smother them with your attention. Sometimes you have to step away from the situation. Give both of you some breathing room.
Beth said her daily walks and a weekly massage helped her to stay grounded. This is a hard disease for everyone to experience. These regular rituals helped Beth as her mother’s disease progressed.
“It gave me time to clear my head. Sometimes I cried the whole walk or during my massage. It was good to let my emotions flow. I also joined a caregiver support group and discovered how others were coping. Eventually, I made the difficult decision to place Mom.
And yes, I felt terrible guilt. But my support group and my massage therapist helped me to move through the emotions. I think I somehow have a better relationship with Mom now. Since I moved her to a memory care home, she is also having fewer outbursts. She seems calmer and happier. I realize that our emotional history together did not make me her best caregiver.”
Take Time to Grieve
Beth also realized that she has been grieving for years. Even though her Mother is still physically here, the Mom who was her champion and her support system is no longer there. “Now it’s my turn to be her champion”, Beth told me.
Allow yourself time to grieve. Feel all of the emotions. Do not try to suppress or stifle them. Feel the sadness, the pain, anger, guilt, frustration and all of it. When you allow yourself to experience these emotions on a regular basis there is less chance of your emotions creeping in when you aren’t expecting them. Embrace the fact that you can do nothing to bring your loved one’s memory or personality back.
Reach for Help
You are not superwoman or superman. Accept the fact that you are human with human needs and wants. As such you need help to balance your caregiving role. Bring in a home care company or talk to someone at Sycamore Creek Ranch about new living arrangements for your loved one.
Come into Sycamore Creek Ranch today to just have a look around. We would love to talk to you and let you see our philosophy of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Set up a time to take a tour with us. 832.791.1577