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Grieving Alzheimer’s Disease

When a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is received the impact for family members and loved ones is immense, however it is all too often overlooked. The thought of losing a loved one to the progressive disease has damaging effects on caregivers, family and friends.  This can manifest in sleeplessness, loss of appetite or overeating, low energy, tension and exhaustion.  Emotional responses can also manifest, such as loneliness, guilt, anger, isolation and depression. The extent of these symptoms can vary and the experience of caregiving is different and unique for everyone.

Allow Yourself to Grieve

Often, family caregivers feel they shouldn’t burden others with their feelings; however, this thinking keeps us from healing. However, giving yourself and others permission to process and grieve is the best way to heal. Find support through family, friends, members of your faith-based community, or a counselor. Support Groups can also be very helpful. If you’re not ready to talk about your feelings quite yet, journal or write about them. This is a great first step towards venting, rather than keeping your feelings bottled up. Find time for yourself each day, whether it’s to cry, relax, or to let go of the day’s stress, anxiety and the responsibilities of care giving.

Give Yourself Time

When working to overcome grief, give yourself time. It’s easy to think that just because we can be logical about our grief and pain, we can overcome it quickly. After you’ve begun to talk about your grief, time will help you to accept and cope with it — which can slowly lead you to move forward. The memories will remain, but painful feelings will lessen in intensity. Give yourself time to pass through each stage of grief, and understand that grief very personal, and will be experienced differently.

The stages of grief include: denial, turmoil, anger/fear, depression, anticipation and acceptance. You may or may not experience each of these stages fully, and not necessarily in this order, so be flexible with yourself. You may also bounce between the stages or return to some. If you feel stuck in any of the stages, seek a counselor. Oftentimes, grief leads to depression, which can be especially difficult to recognize and recover from without outside help. Grieving is a normal process, but should be temporary.

More About Homewatch CareGivers

Homewatch CareGivers is a premier caregiver agency, providing home care for all ages. We invite you to visit, where you can read articles related to home health, Dementia Care Tips and home care news; or download PDF home care resources. From health care coordination and hospital discharge planning to home care transportation and daily living assistance, let our family of caregivers care for yours.


2 Responses to Grieving Alzheimer’s Disease
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    February 20, 2016 | 10:17 pm

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