This is a deeper dive into the eight item from my list of things to never say to a person diagnosed with dementia.
There is a learning curve when it comes to spending time with your loved one who is changing because of their dementia. It’s subtle at first. While I felt like something was wrong with my mom, most of my siblings just thought her behavior was normal. She could be very prickly, so why did I think her angry outbursts meant something was wrong?
When she started to challenge us on things that she didn’t remember and didn’t want to accept, we wondered if it was a personality quirk she had hidden from us for decades. What we didn’t know was that her brain was changing which will result in new behaviors.
The hardest time to accept this is early on, when there are small changes to thinking that have occurred. Because my mom could never absorb the fact that she had a form of dementia, she took our feedback very personally. She really believed we were making up the stories we would tell her about past events.
I don’t feel like we ever blamed her, but do recall that she felt like we were. I blogged about my mom saying so several years ago. While we thought logically explaining that she was having trouble navigating some things, she was very angry and felt like we were blaming her. We just wanted her to allow us to help her.
However, it took me and my siblings some time to understand, absorb, and adapt to help our parents. I have dozens of posts where I took things my mom said to me very personally. So much of mom still seemed like mom. On the other side of my journey, it’s easy to recognize. While you are in it, be kind to yourself, and your loved one. Reflected.