Alzheimer’s disease affects everyone it comes in contact with, especially the close family members of a person with the disease. Families facing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis should help each other – and consequently their loved one – by sharing information about the disease, taking on the tasks of caregiving and finding sources of support throughout this journey.
Family members not only need to understand the effects of the disease on their loved one but also need to find ways to stay open and connected to their loved one in order to heal the emotional burdens the disease has caused. In addition to seeking professional or group support, families can try these emotional strategies in order to begin coping with their loved one’s Alzheimer’s:
- Allow Time to Grieve – Some family members may struggle with denial, holding onto the hope that their loved one will somehow get better and begin acting like their self again. Denial is usually a defense against the painful feelings of loss. However, acknowledging the loss of a cherished relationship and allowing time to grieve fully can give family members the opportunity to accept their present circumstances and find new ways to connect to their loved one.
- Hold on to Long-Term Connections – One way to cope with the pain of your loved one’s disease is to hold on to important memories that are significant to the relationship. If a daughter of a woman with Alzheimer’s focuses on her mother’s life-long devotion and love, it’s easier for the daughter to reciprocate that love when she visits her mother. Remembering who the person was before their Alzheimer’s can help families connect and care for them as the disease progresses.
- Remember the Significance of the Relationship – Remembering the influence that the person with Alzheimer’s has had can offer great comfort to family members. Often, we look to our parents, grandparents or spouse as individuals who have helped make us who we are today. Approaching a loved one with this in mind can keep a family member’s mind focused on gratitude rather than loss, and allow them the emotional peace they need in order to continue to connect with their loved one.
- Express Love – Although putting aside painful emotions isn’t easy, science suggests that expressing love (rather than grief or frustration) can have a physical effect on the people around us. Research by the HeartMath Institute in Boulder Creek, CA, shows that positive emotions, such as compassion, joy, and love, produce smooth rhythms in our hearts, which leads to stress-reducing hormones, an increased immune system, better brain function and clear thinking. Negative feelings of stress, anxiety, and despair cause jagged heart rhythms.
- Our heart rhythms create electromagnetic signals that can be felt (subconsciously) by those close to us. Our emotions have a physical impact on ourselves and the people we share a room with. For family members spending time with a loved one with Alzheimer’s, this knowledge translates to an exciting way to promote your loved one’s happiness and health just by being with them and showing them love.
The Art of Living
At Tuscan Gardens® of Venetia Bay, we’ve mastered the art of living. We’ve perfected the balance of personalized support and an uplifting lifestyle, helping our residents experience independence, joy, and meaning every day.
Offering supportive independent living, assisted living and memory care services for families in Venice, Florida, Tuscan Gardens of Venetia Bay was founded with one simple, yet profound goal – to create a community worthy of our parents. In all we do, we are guided by the principles of family, culture, and engagement, working to represent the remarkable way of life our families deserve.
The essence of our community is made up not only of mere aesthetics but an artfully designed lifestyle to bring out the best of what each day has to offer. From dedicated care that respects residents’ individuality and dignity to a lifestyle that nurtures their love of life, Tuscan Gardens was built to be more than just a residence, but a place to call home.
To learn more about our comfortable, elegant community, contact us today!