The moment your parent finds out that they are living with Alzheimer’s disease, their life changes, and so does yours as their family caregiver. You are likely to experience many emotions during the first days, weeks, and even months of this journey, and it is important that you not only acknowledge these emotions but that you are ready to confront and work through them so that you can be the best caregiver possible for your elderly parent.
One of the most common, and potentially detrimental, emotions that family caregivers experience when they first hear that their elderly parent has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is denial. Your mind immediately goes to the thought that the doctor is wrong and that your parent is fine, or that they will not experience serious symptoms. This can lead you to not be honest with yourself or with your parent about the challenges that they are facing now and will face in the future, and not give them the care that they need.
Some thoughts that you may have that signal you are dealing with denial about your parent’s diagnosis include:
• They can’t really have dementia
• It’s impossible for them to have Alzheimer’s disease, no one else in the family ever has
• They function too well to have Alzheimer’s disease
• Their memory loss is normal. Everyone at their age forgets things
• They must have said something strange to the doctor to make the doctor think that they have dementia
• It is something else, like an infection or a mental health issue, not dementia
• They are just being dramatic
If you are experiencing denial about your parent’s diagnosis, seek out support that will help you come to terms with it and start focusing on the care that they need now and further in their progression.
Can elderly care services help?
Starting home care for your elderly parent can be one of the best decisions that you make for them. As their family caregiver, you are responsible for helping them to live the highest quality of life possible throughout their later years, and an in-home senior care services provider can help you accomplish that goal.
Through a highly personalized set of services, this care provider can step in to supplement the care that you already give your parent, filling care gaps, providing transportation, and just being there to act as a companion and source of mental and emotional support. This can ensure that your parent’s needs are met in the way that is right for them, while also helping them to stay healthy, safe, comfortable, and as fulfilled and independent as possible as they age in place.