Where Is Dad on Father’s Day?
Family holidays can be stressful. When the family is around, there can be much preparation for the joyous occasion. If the family is absent due to physical or emotional distance, or even death, there is emotional stress of another kind. But what if your loved one is nearby and far away at the same time?
According to Alissa Sauer’s blog at alzheimers.net, Over 16 million people in the United States alone care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. While the caregiving journey can be rewarding, it is no secret that it can also be overwhelmingly challenging.
As the disease progresses, it becomes easier to forget that your loved one is still present. Many caregivers are frustrated by their loved one’s inability to communicate their thoughts and their inability to remember faces and names. The disease eventually takes away independence so that caregivers become the feet, hands and mind of people struggling with dementia.
Many people who have the disease struggle with depression and some can become violent, further increasing frustration for caregivers. But, despite all these challenges, if you care for and love someone with dementia, it can be extremely rewarding and although it may not be obvious, your loved one is still there, behind the disease.
Although it is painful to witness the progression of the disease, you must remember that your loved one has no control over its effects. When things get difficult and tempers flare, harsh words are spoken, or you suddenly become a stranger in a strange land, it is the disease manifesting itself. Although he or she may seem like a different person, they are still Mom or Dad or Aunt Sally or Uncle Jack.
So, on Father’s Day, if your dad is struggling with dementia, don’t let the disease get the best of you. In fact, he probably needs your love now more than ever. The roles have been reversed; it’s your turn to take care of him. In fact, love and compassion go — and grow — hand-in-hand. Literally.
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