Thursday, October 1, 2009

Encore: Could it be the Dementia?

I've been asked to republish some of my more popular older posts by many of my readers. Here is one called "Could it be the Dementia?" first published in July, 2008.

So...could Mom's behavior be caused by her dementia. I couldn’t tell. I was too close to it. I got mad every time she lashed out at me…or else I felt embarrassed whenever her target was someone else (usually in public places)—or when she over-ate without remembering that she had just eaten—or when she asked the same question over and over and over—or she was physically aggressive—or (you can fill in the blanks with other things that make you crazy).

Every time Mom did something socially unacceptable (I won’t catalogue these things—you know what they are), my anger raged. Afterwards, of course, I felt guilty for getting angry. Well, I didn’t have to feel this way…and neither do you.

Here’s what the social worker told me:


“Cool it buddy!” she said. “It’s not about you. It’s about her. It’s a disease process—an illness.” So recognize the wisdom of the social worker’s advice.

Learn to ignore the bizarre behaviors of your loved one and to accept them as “normal” symptoms of dementia disease (and to not take them personally even when they seem to be personal). You’ll be a much happier person and a much better caregiver.

Remember: Your Mom can’t control her dementia symptoms any more than if it were pneumonia, or heart disease, or cancer. Things are happening in her brain that make her do the things that upset you.

Bob Tell,
Author "Dementia Diary, A Caregivers Journal"

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