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Dementia

Posted on July 11, 2017 at 5:25 PM
When a person succumbs to any form of dementia, it is hard on family and friends. It is difficult to see the diminished capacity of a loved one and the unbearable frustration it brings. However, one of the worst things we have to cope with is the fact that this person has a flawed memory, and this flawed memory can cause them to tell others terrible things about us, simply because their brain isn't working correctly. No matter how far-fetched their stories and accusations may be, to them, what they are saying is true. Have you ever looked for something you are sure you left in a particular spot and found it missing? Most of us have. Sometimes, we even wonder if someone in the family moved the object, since we are so sure we left it in that spot. Later, we find the missing object, and then it immediately clicks when and why we moved it. Hopefully, we did not actually confront a family member for "messing with our stuff," and our minds are presumably normal. Imagine someone who has diminished short-term memory capacity; the person places an object somewhere, and then wanders off to do something. Later, this person cannot find what he or she is looking for. Anxiety, frustration and a sense of loss accompany most dementias. Add paranoia to the list, and you have got a scenario where the elder feels vulnerable and taken advantage of. This causes them to lean toward thinking people are stealing their things. Unfortunately, there are many instances where people have taken advantage of someone with diminished mental capacity. This is a terrible fact of life. However, there are also many instances where the individual specifically asks a caregiver or family member to launder a piece of clothing, repair an object, or purchase something for them using cash they provide, and then they forget that they not only gave permission, they actually requested that the caregiver do this. When they discover an object or money is missing, accusations can fly. Often, these accusations are transient, and the individual eventually forgets the incident. It is hard for the caregiver to forget that he or she has been accused of stealing or harming someone they love, but this is a time when we must remember that the person is sick. A great amount of tolerance and patience is needed in these situations. These and other behaviors are brought on by the disease. However, sometimes we have to protect ourselves. When that happens, make sure you seek proper help and guidance. (Agingcare)

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