1. Understanding Why They Treat Others Better
Our loved ones are not in denial, nor are they being stubborn; they have a “lack of awareness or lack of insight.” This state is called anosognosia, which refers to a “person’s lack of awareness of their own motor, visual, or cognitive deficits.” Since they are not capable of being aware of their brain problem, they see us as the enemy who is getting in their way from doing what they want, instead of seeing us as the person who is helping them.
When we decide to understand what is happening with the disease process, then we will understand that we must retire the term ‘’good caregiver” and replace it for “doing the best job we can.”
2. Communication Is Key To Keeping The Peace
First off, do not highlight their weaknesses. Our loved ones with dementia are not capable of stepping back to look at any factors from a clear perspective.
Also, laying off arguing, correcting, or reasoning with our loved ones with dementia can allow us to start a new way of communicating and relating with them.
Keeping in mind that happiness is linked to how others treat us can help us keep the peace. Learning to communicate in a new way with your loved ones and ourselves will give us a new sense of compassion and will allow the situation to improve.
3. Leave Some Things Alone
Before correcting our loved ones, let’s remember to take a step back and ask ourselves if we can avoid making our loved ones feel bad. Is it necessary to correct them?
More than likely, it is better to save that energy and put it towards something more important. Let’s ask ourselves, is it kinder to just agree with them to not cause them any more anxiety, worry, or pain? Agreeing or lying to your loved one for their mental benefit is a form of compassion. Understanding what they want relieves pain and heartache from our loved one.
Our caregiving journey will have many hardships along the way. It is up to us to decide which struggles are best to leave alone. At the end of the day, there is no need to correct or challenge them, as long as their safety is not at risk. No one likes to be reminded of what we can’t do, right?
Aiming towards behaviors that can alleviate our loved one’s anxiety, sadness, and anger will teach us a lot about them, and in turn, make it easier for us to understand their needs and desires.
When we communicate with the intent to relieve their anxiety, instead of correcting them, we realize we are good caregivers. Certainly, we are doing the best we can under extreme circumstances. Reframing and rewiring our self-talk, the unempowering questions, and the desire to correct is the beginning of appreciating the great job we do.