Naturally, it can be distressing when a loved one with dementia doesn’t recognize you. Even if you were expecting their condition to progress, when the time comes that your elderly parent mistakes you for someone else, you may still experience feelings of hurt and upset. When that’s the case, try to remind yourself that it is the disease speaking, not your loved one. We share with you some tips for coping in this article.
Validate What Your Loved One Thinks
Instead of getting upset and constantly trying to remind your loved one that you are their spouse or child, validate what is going on in their minds. If your elderly parent thinks you are a childhood friend, take the chance to find out more about them. Ask them to tell you how their friend looked like, what they loved about them, as well as what they were like. By giving your loved ones the opportunity to share their memories, you can calm them instead of forcing them to recognize you.
Respond in a Gentle Way
One thing never to do is to get defensive or aggressive about your loved one’s inability to recognize you. Instead, respond in a gentle way and direct their thoughts elsewhere. You can try singing a song that holds special memories for him or her or bring out the photo albums and look through pictures of friends and family together. Even if that doesn’t trigger your loved one to recognize you, you can enjoy some spending quality bonding time in a meaningful way.
Remind Them – and Yourself
There’s no harm in gently reminding your loved one who you are, but don’t push the issue if they get distressed. A simple, “Remember me? I’m your daughter, Carla,” will suffice. If they persist in thinking you are someone else or don’t respond, leave it. If you are experiencing feelings of distress yourself, a firm reminder that your loved one hasn’t made the conscious choice to forget you will help. Always remember that the disease is responsible for your loved one not recognizing you, and not anything he or she has done wrong.
Allow Yourself to Grief
Denial will not help anyone, you or your loved one alike. You can allow yourself to grief this change in your loved one, even if you have been expecting it. When you express your feelings in a healthy manner, this can help you look to the future with greater hope.
You Can Trust Rittenhouse Village At Muhlenberg to Be Your Partner in Care
If your loved one’s condition has progressed to the point that you can no longer provide care at home, come to Rittenhouse Village At Muhlenberg for personal care services. With 24/7 nursing care and onsite therapy and medical services, you can be sure that your loved one will be well taken care of. Or if you are a family caregiver who requires some time off, our senior respite care has got you covered. You can trust us to return your loved one to you safely when you are all refreshed and energized from your break.