Dementia AND Alzheimer's Disease 

Confusion/ Isolation/  Anxiety/ Depression/ 

Grief and loss/ Frustration/ Loneliness/ 

Caring for others/ Caring for self

You show up at your parents' house looking forward to visiting and sharing a family dinner. Unfortunately, your mom doesn't seem to know who you are and accuses you of not visiting in a long time. She asks you the same question over and over and you get tired of answering her. Doesn't she listen to you? Your mom insists on clearing the table after dinner, but she drops and breaks a glass on the way into the kitchen. When you try and help her she yells at you that she can take care of herself, "I'm hopeless not helpless!" You are now counting down the minutes until you get to leave. At the same time, you feel guilty for not understanding your mother's age-related changes and hurt that she no longer treats you like her favorite child. 

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease are increasing exponentially in our country. If you are not yet affected by this illness, it is likely that you soon will be. You may be faced with difficult decisions about moving your loved ones into a residential care facility or providing care for them at home. You are now a part of the "sandwich generation." You are expected to care for both your adult children and your aging parents and it is taking a huge toll on you, your family and your marriage. It is imperative that you seek support to maintain your own sanity. More importantly, support is necessary to help you enjoy these last years you may have with your beloved parents.

 

Life transitions

Managing illness & memory loss

Maintaining relationships

Grief and loss

Life balance and self care



Some areas of interest for older adults and caregivers include:

Individuals face a variety of challenges as they transition through various stages of lives. Aging brings with it a unique combination of challenges. Older individuals are often seeking someone to listen to and understand them as the surrounding world becomes unrecognizable to them. Individuals caring for others also share similar challenges. Among the most important practice to maintain life balance for all, is remembering to love and care for yourself.

Ashes to ashes...

If you have been following my Alzheimer's story and blog, you may remember that my mother-in-law continues to ask when her husband is coming home. It has been 10 and a half months since he departed on his trip to Mars. Sadly, she thinks he just left her alone and can't believe that he died because she never saw him. She does not remember him lying in the hospital bed in their living room and she does not remember the days we all gathered as a family to say goodbye (both before and after his death).

I can't help but wonder if there is a way for her to remember not only that he is gone, but that he left her with as much love as he always had for her.

His ashes are sitting in our closet while we figure out how to best honor him. What if we give her an urn with some ashes. Then, when she asks, we can point and tell her he is right here....with her. Everyone memorializes their loved ones in a different way...perhaps she needs him to be physically with her to remember that he has always been with her.

Los Gatos Counseling Center

Debra Pace, Director

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, #101506

Offices in Los Gatos and Downtown Monterey

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