Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Family Emotions Following an Alzheimers Diagnosis

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be very difficult for family members to accept. While there are treatment options for this condition, it is an incurable disease that affects the judgment, behavior, and memory of elderly individuals. For this reason, family members often anticipate having to care for their loved ones as they slowly decline—which can cause individuals to experience a variety of emotions.
Dealing with these emotions can be difficult. Anger, frustration, sadness, grief—these feelings and others are commonly felt once the diagnosis is announced. But there are healthy ways to handle these circumstances.
Understanding What You Are Feeling

The first step in understanding the emotions family members are experiencing is to pinpoint them. Both one on one and in groups, talk to family members about how they are feeling. You may be met with resistance at first, but remember that this is natural. Make it clear to your family members that, when they are ready to talk, you will be there for them.
For some families, counseling is the best way to overcome this emotional challenge. Therapy, both individual and in groups, can help family members identify their emotions and work through them. This may be a better option for some individuals, who may be embarrassed by their feelings or hesitant to discuss them with anyone who is close to the situation.

Recognizing Feelings on a Daily Basis

Learning that your elderly loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is a stressful experience. This stress can amplify the emotions that family members may feel, leading them to inadvertently take their frustration, anger, or grief out on others. Encouraging your family members to recognize the feelings that are prompting their actions can help keep tempers cool and avoid familial conflict, which may arise as care plans are developed for your loved one.
The stress of caring for an elderly individual who has Alzheimer’s disease can also cause conflict. If your family needs a bit of guidance, the Alzheimer’s care professionals in Chapel Hill are happy to provide assistance. Dementia care providers understand the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and can assist in any arrangements that need to be made.

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