Some days you look into a person with Alzheimer’s and you wonder what is truly left of the person they once were.
As you walk through this journey as the illness progresses with your loved one, there will be times of frustration, hurt and pain. There will also be moments of clarity and points where they do something hilarious that you can’t help but burst into laughter.
But how much of these moments remind you of who they once were? How much of the present can you use to push yourself to still love them for who they actually were?
At the end of the day, think about how you are the person still left with the memories and the ability to remember. You choose and hold control over whether or not you want to look at them for who they were. The illness has robbed them of their choice ‘to be’ but you can still try and allow the memories to live on.
Here are 5 ways that can help you care better for the person living in the ‘present’:
1. Suss the situation and play along with it
With caregiving, every moment is a different one. You can be spotting clarity in this time, and confusion the next. Figure out the point in which your loved one is currently living in and play around the conversations. Don’t force them to go your way. Important life skill learned: adaptability.
2. Remember that every day is a new day
Messed up today? Learn from it, move on and do better. Think of it as an opportunity for you to press the rewind button. It’s a reboot from every other day before.
3. Patience is key
After a while, you will realise that stressing out, throwing your temper and raising your voice will not help. Instead, this will make your loved one more confused than they already are and make your situation tougher. So breathe and remember why you are choosing patience.
4. Dive into the humour
Amidst all that you are going through, you will get moments of laughter. Embrace the humour and their antics. Be ok with allowing yourself to ride along with the person they are now.
5. Never forget who they were and appreciate them for what they have taught you along this journey
It’s an experience that will teach and mould you into a better person. As tough as it is, look at this journey from the perspective of it being a gift. Remember, the longest and toughest journeys are normally the most rewarding. You may never see it that way, but you’ll know how your journey has shaped you at the end of it all.
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