We know what we know and we like it that way. We all have our own ideas on how our parents are supposed to be. Maybe they are our rock. Maybe they were never there for us. One thing is for sure we feel they are supposed to be there for us no matter what. Our images of parents, tells us they are to nurture us, give us strength, and provide for our needs. Our society dictates this. We all have our own unique perspective on how our childhood went. Some think their parents failed the parenting test, other feel blessed to have had the parents they had. Whatever our perspective, our childhood definitely has a lot to do with who we are now, and how we deal with the trials and tribulation life sends our way.
Fear of the unknown and of things we do not understand is the area that Alzheimer’s falls under. No one is quite sure what causes it, how to prevent it, or what to expect from it. The disease is as unpredictable and unique as the individual that has it. The only definite is that it causes great emotional pain and fear for every one involved.
Fear surrounds Alzheimer’s: nobody wants it and everybody is afraid of it. Families of people who have been diagnosed are afraid of what they see happening. How can we over come the fear? We may over come our fears by acknowledging the roots of our emotions. The time to start is in the every beginning as we begin to notice the subtle little changes such as: the forgetfulness, repetitive questions or thoughts and confusion. There is a lot of fear involved with just those simple changes. How we react to those changes sets the stage for what’s to come. It is a normal response to react to fear with anger, aggression and impatience and generally, we go into the defense mode. We have little time for patience and understanding because we are to busy protecting our hearts. If we ignore it or get angry at it, maybe it will go away. We block or put off thought of the future because the future holds pain and sorrow. We feel guilty for being afraid and not being able to deal with the changes. This is not the way we had our lives planned in our imagination of what life is suppose to be.
Understanding loss is one-step to understanding some of the emotion that surface when a loved one has Alzheimer’s. When we think of losing a loved one we automatically think of death. Loss is loss; the emotions of loss are the same regardless of the cause. The cycle of grief is the same, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. What makes the losses caused by Alzheimer’s so difficult is that you see a person you are very familiar with, one who has played a certain role in your life. They look the same, they sound the same, but nothing is the same. What is not realized is that this is where your common ground is found. For the person that has Alzheimer’s, People, places and things look familiar, but they have no idea why. They can’t put together the, who, where, what or why of things. They have the same emotional confusion you are experiencing.
When it comes to matters of the heart, logic is quickly replaced with emotion. Our emotions are influenced by our life experiences and from the foundation that we have chosen to build our lives. We can’t always control our emotions, but we can learn from them. By taking the time to look closely at our emotions and finding there roots, we can come to accept what is before us. Acceptance does not remove the fear or pain; life doesn’t instantly become joyful and blissful. Acceptances teach us how to live in spite of our fear and pain. We learn to accept and acknowledge life on life’s terms. We admit we are powerless over many of the thing we want to control. Most of all we learn to have faith. We also learn what is deep inside ourselves that makes us uniquely who we are.
Researching Alzheimer’s and reading all the information about the disease and the entire practical how to care for someone with Alzheimer’s is important. However, it is not going to be very useful until you can come to terms with the emotional effects Alzheimer’s has on everyone involved. Come to terms with your feelings and emotions then you can process the practical information from a completely new perspective.
By Angelica White