When a senior loved one has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, the impact on the entire family is significant. The disease is often referred to as “the long goodbye” because it slowly robs a person of their memory and independence, while families watch helplessly.
As the disease progresses, the spouse likely becomes a caregiver instead of a partner. Adult children or other family members often provide support as well. Everyone is forced to accept that their aging loved one is fading away and may not recognize them at some point. The emotional toll the situation creates can lead to feelings of grief, even though the older adult is still alive.
What can families do to cope with a sense of loss while providing care to a loved one with a memory impairment? We have some suggestions you might find helpful.
Anticipatory Grief and Alzheimer’s
Anticipatory grief is the grief that occurs before a great loss. For loved ones of an older adult with Alzheimer’s disease, this grief can last many years. Here are a few steps you can take to cope with the unique situation family members experience:
Respite Care to Support Alzheimer’s Caregivers
One final piece of advice for Alzheimer’s caregivers is to explore respite care options in your neighborhood. These short-term stays at an assisted living community can give a weary caregiver a few days or weeks to take a break. All the while knowing your family member is in good hands. Call 1-888-434-4648 to talk with a Sunrise expert about respite solutions that meet your needs.