Firstly, part of the complexity is the disease, but part of it is our lack of preparation of the disease as well. Sometimes it’s as simple as a husband rejecting needing socks- I can see his frustration with me, but as the care person, I have a hard time trying to understand what in my voice doesn’t sound like the wife he married, what sounds like a nagging mom, and what in my behavior sounds like I’m bossing him around. Being self aware is important. In these moments, my distress level was super high and he (my husband) is unable to come back from that. Additionally, both people need time apart. Sometimes, the care person takes on too many roles for too many hours and pretty soon you’re not even thinking about what you’re doing, but rather you’re just trying to do what you need to do. This mentality is not sustainable long-term. Rather, being able to pull back and show that you both need time away is valuable; you’re still ‘forever and always,’ but as you try to figure out how best to live, you need to recognize that you can live better without forcing this close interaction all the time
How can we differentiate behavioral changes and mood swings caused by dementia? And how do we cope with this as caregivers? How can we equip ourselves to reassure ourselves it’s the disease talking and not them?
By Bill Fisher | October 21st, 2020