Coping with Alzheimer’s
Emotions and Living with Alzheimer’s
Just because you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, doesn’t mean that you are isolated from the rest of the world. Rest in that there is a great community out there of support for every step of the way. People who are out that there that know exactly what you are going through, whether it be they themselves are suffering from Alzheimer’s, or they are dealing with a loved one suffering. One thing that you will most commonly hear from friends, doctors, support groups, is this: tackle the disease early. The second is to know emotional roller coaster it will be, and understand all of the stages of emotions that will be to come. The first emotion that usually comes with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is one of loss. Loss of the normalcy that life once was, loss of how easy life was, and loss of memories made in the past. Fear may not be far behind. Fear of the unknown future, fear of the future changes to come, fear of the lost memories, as well as fear of the loss to knowing the every day “routine” tasks.
To help whether it be you or a loved one suffering from Alzheimer‘s, below is a standard series of emotions that you will experience after a diagnosis:
- Depression: There will be a sense of sadness and hopelessness and helplessness to stop the changes that are to come.
- Denial: There will probably be a stage at the beginning where you cannot wrap your mind around it and may think that all doctors are wrong with their diagnosis. Hearing you have this disease can be overwhelming, and it may be easier to pretend at the beginning that it isn’t really there to avoid the drastic changes that you will have to eventually make in life.
- Sense of loss: As the disease progresses, you will have to mentally prepare yourself or your loved one for grieving the life once lived before being diagnosed.
- Anger: As with most if not all medical diagnosis’, anger will be one of most early reactions to hearing you have Alzheimer’s. You do not have control over what is happening in your body, and you are being forced to completely changing your way of living. Plans will have to change, and the unknown future will be the dictator of many things moving forward.
- Resentment: The all too common “why” question will pop up. “Why me? What did I do to deserve this?”
- Fear: Fear of the unknown future, fear of how loved ones will respond, help, or not help.
- Isolation: You may feel like you do not have anyone to talk to, or that no one knows or understands what you are going through.
- Relief: You’ve known for sometime that something was wrong, and now you feel relief that you have a diagnosis and you have information moving forward on how to cope and live with this new way of life.