It can be upsetting when your loved one does not recognize you because of dementia. Alzheimer’s disease damages the brain, causing forgetfulness in patients. As painful as it is, your loved ones can experience anxiety, paranoia, and agitation at their memory loss. Sometimes, they can even yell at you to leave their house, forgetting who you are to them. Here are some ways to cope with the sadness and shock felt when your loved one is no longer able to remember your name or face.
Understand Their Condition Does Not Change Who They Are
When your loved one remembers your brother’s name and not yours, try your best not to take it personally. Remind yourself that it is the disease that should take responsibility for the memory loss, whether it is Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, or other types of dementia. Remember that their condition does not change who they are. They are still your loved ones, and you can still remember cherished memories even if they can no longer do so.
It can be frustrating when you have to repeatedly remind them of who you are whenever they forget. However, it is important to remember the need to be gentle in your response. The goal is to decrease your loved ones’ anxiety or worries, even when you may feel exasperated. Keep the introduction short, “We haven’t seen each other in a while. I’m your son Simon.” Speaking in a calm tone and slowing your pace of speech can also help to ease your loved ones’ anxiety when they do not recognize you.
Use Photos and Videos
Another good way to jog your loved ones’ memory of you is through old photographs and videos. Taking a trip down memory lane together can be a wonderful bonding exercise.
Sometimes, the use of photos and videos may not be enough to help your loved one recognize you. Some experts recommend validation therapy, which can help you to step into their perception of reality. If they continually refer to you as another family member instead of their son, ask them to tell you about this person and what they loved about him. Give them the space to share their treasured memories of him, rather than try to force the process of remembering you.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
It is important to let yourself grieve this memory decline in your loved one. Don’t beat yourself up or feel emotional even though you have tried to prepare yourself by reading up on what to expect on caring for a loved one with dementia.
Memory Care Program in Rittenhouse Village At Lehigh Valley
More often than not, your mental health and ability to care for your loved ones in the long run are as important as their well-being. When you find it difficult to cope with fatigue and grief, it is okay to take some time off to rest, while having peace of mind that they are in good hands. To learn more about our memory care program, contact us today.