Loving a Parent Who No Longer Remembers Who You Are
Dementia in general and Alzheimer’s, in particular, are difficult to live through, especially when a loved one is afflicted by them. Alzheimer’s is the most damning of all of the types of dementia and this is made evident by the fact that as of 2019, 5.8 million people in the United States are affected by the disease. And while it may, on paper, sound like any other degenerative disease, its after-effects and consequences are long-lasting and deeply hurting for a reason.
Why Alzheimer’s Hurts So Much
Even keeping aside the physical pain that you know your senior loved ones are going through; knowing someone you love is afflicted is painful for you. As a caregiver, and more importantly as a child, you’re wrecked by the knowledge that your parent is going through a phase of forgetfulness.
In the beginning, it isn’t perhaps so bad. They forget little things, can’t do basic math, and maybe lose one set of keys. But it gets progressively worse. Eventually, forgetting time and places transforms into forgetting names and persons. They begin having difficulties performing minute daily tasks, the kind of tasks you saw them do without worry for many years, such as cleaning and cooking.
And the worst blow hits when they no longer remember who you are. You become a presence in their vision, but are never acknowledged with a spark of recognition. It goes without saying that this can be a jarring experience for anyone.
How to Cope with the Experience
It’s tough, yes. But at the end of the day, they’re still your parents who gave birth to you and brought you up. They stood with you all your life, and are now at a stage where they no longer are in control of what fate befalls them. You must remember that this is a situation far beyond your or their control—and that dwelling on negative thoughts and questions won’t help.
What will help is you focusing on the positives instead: ask yourself what is it that you can do to make their situation a little better?
You can give them the care and love they deserve at this point. It doesn’t really matter whether they remember you or not. What matters is that you’re here for them, no matter what. Their brain might have lost the connection, but somewhere in the deepest recesses of their heart, they will know who you are and what you’re doing for them.
They deserve nothing less.
Looking for a Senior Living Community for Your Loved Ones?
AvantGarde Senior Living and Memory Care in Tarzana is a senior care community that offers assisted, independent, and memory care options for senior members. Several amenities are also offered to our community, such as sports, television, and socializing avenues.