“We, the ones then, are no longer the same”
Who has not been afraid of developing any type of dementia especially knowing that today it is possible to live until 80-100 years? . Sometimes dementias can be more scary than cancer or death. A degenerative disease can affect us at a cognitive, functional and physical level. It robs us of what we are and makes us vulnerable, fragile and dependent. We lose the ability to connect with ourselves, with others, we are left without a map of the world and of life and we can not stand for ourselves. We all know someone who has dementia; a neighbor, the father of a friend, an uncle, our loved one. The person who sees how slowly he loses his faculties feels immense terror and many times they hide him from his family to protect them from all that this entails. When the doctor confirms the suspicion, the patient and the family begin a long way for which no one is prepared. The physical, emotional, logistical and economic implications that are experienced are real and stressful. Therefore, a very important help is psychological help, to have the necessary resources to face the new situation. We should not doubt that there are many things to assimilate, many duels that will be made, many things to learn, manage and process.
Dementias are long and degenerative deceases, that generates a lot of stress, burden, impotence, rage, fear, guilt, and even resentment. There are some caregivers that feel they can do it without any help, that they are strong, but it is not a matter of being strong, it is a matter of being realistic. Physiologically we are designed so that if we are facing a situation that we feel exceeds our capacity for tolerance because we are afraid or pain or overflow, automatically the alarms are triggered, and we want to flee: leaving the room, avoiding visits, we are become irritable or we freeze without knowing what to do. And it is that when we feel so helpless before someone who suffers, if we cannot do anything to alleviate their suffering, we want to flee as far as possible. We want to let them know that we are there, that we love them, but we do not want to be present when they are suffering because it is painful.
The caregivers and the most important part in the of the dementia disease process: if the caregiver is not doing well, the patient is not going to be well because he/she will not receive the care and attention and the type of company needs. You must take care of the caregiver because when the caregiver feels overwhelmed this is the main cause of the institutionalization process or in more extreme cases, the mistreatment of the sick person. It is not easy to be with someone we no longer know and who cannot communicate. As this is a disease that is evolving until death, we are constantly doing duels, sometimes we think that everything is controlled and, all of a sudden, a new change comes; a hospitalization, a fall, and all this is stressful and painful. This is the reason why it is important to listen to our emotions and ask ourselves what we need as caregivers, to focus in the present, the needs they present and their limitations. And remember that behind that “lost look”, “that body” that does not respond, there person that you remember still there. This person is doing the best they can, given the circumstances. In fact, many people in their moments of lucidity cry to see themselves like this. The greatest gift you can give is your presence ... and sometimes is it is the hardest to give.
If you wish to have one or two sessions, to help yourself in this process. Let’s talk.
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