The Alzheimers caregivers emotions can be like a roller coaster ride. A caregiver may feel so many different emotions during the progression of this illness. Learning to recognize the emotions will help you better deal with them.
Positive Emotions: Love, Affection, Compassion, Enjoyment, Hope, Acceptance, Appreciation, Realization, Kindness, Relief, Empathy, Freedom, Harmony, Honesty, Tolerance, Happiness, Optimism, Satisfaction, Security, Understanding, Simplicity, Affection, Passion, Esteem, Enthusiasm, Respect, Peace, Pleasure, Compromise, Illusion, Support, Contentment, Interest, Confidence, Joy, Dignity
Negative emotions: Melancholy, Abandoned, Boredom, Abuse, Necessity, Absence, Demotivated, Frightened, Bitterness, Anguish, Anxiety, Disgust, Nuisance, Shame, Emptiness, Hostility, Humiliation, Betrayal, Harassment, Manipulated, Fear, Failure, Fragility, Frustration, Fury, Loneliness, Anger, Suspicion, Misery, Pain, Hate, Stress, Envy, Sadness, Impatience, Unhappiness, Irritation, Jealousy, Blame, Depression, Defeat, Discouraged, Abandoned, Despair, Disappointment, Exasperated, Resentment, Apathy, and Grief.
Embarrassment is one of the Alzheimers caregivers emotions I have heard family members express quite often. Usually it is in the early to middle stages when they are still going out in public. During this period the caregiver is struggling to continue to live a normal life but the person with Alzheimer's Disease is having some difficulties.
One day I was sitting in a buffet restaurant and was watching this elderly couple. It was very obvious to me she had some type of dementia (there is a sort of dazed look in the eyes of many people with this illness). He helped her through the line and they got their food and set down to eat. When they were done eating he led her to the dessert area. He filled his dish with ice cream from the soft serve machine and headed back to the table while she filled her dish. I watched as she filled her dish turned and walked away while soft serve ice cream kept running. I ran to the machine and stopped it and he was right behind me. He kept apologizing and looked so embarrassed. I reassured him it was fine and to go enjoy his lunch with his wife. I am sure most people who live with someone with Alzheimer's Disease has at least one story similar to this one.
Almost all Alzheimers caregivers experience grief & mourning during some points in the middle & late stages. Mourning the life they thought they would have. The realization that their life is now one of a caregiver instead of a spouse/child/ parent is very difficult for most people.
Anger & Resentment often accompany the grief and mourning emotions. When some people realize their golden years are not going to be as planned, that resentment can be towards their loved one with the illness. These emotions can take over if you let them. That is why you need to seek emotional support during your time as a caregiver.
I am a nurse and have taken care of thousands of people with Alzheimers, but I have never lived with someone with Alzheimers. I have seen caregiver breakdown many times in my career and I know that without a good support system you are at a high risk for caregiver burnout.
There are many resources out there for you. Most larger cities have Alzheimers support groups. Often they are ran by family members of someone with the illness who has experiences similar to yours.
There are also several internet blog sites written by people who have been Alzheimers in home caregivers for their loved ones. They have some wonderful information in them and I highly recommend you check out the sites I am adding below.
Please find some sort of emotional support to help you be the best caregiver you can be.
Do you need help keeping track of appointments, medicines, vital signs, weights, meals, bowels, and behaviors?
Do you know what stage of Alzheimer's Disease your loved one is in?
Do you know what to watch for next?
Do you have sitters coming in and need to have a better system to help them provide the best care?
Does your loved one have behaviors that you should be tracking?
Do you have all of the information written down you need when you go to your doctor visits to help them understand what needs you may have?
The Caregivers Notebook will help you organize and document the care needed in your home and provide clear direction to those who help you care for your loved one.