Alzheimer's blog

Blame the disease, not the person, when caregiving gets frustrating

By Angela Lunde July 13, 2010

A while back Jewels wrote a bit about her caregiving role. She said she's caring for someone who "wakes up cloudy about what happened or who he talked to yesterday...", and that she "has to remind herself that this disease is not who she cares for, but something the person with dementia has to deal with." I think I know what Jewels was trying to say and I have another perspective that can be helpful.

The anger, frustration and impatience you often feel as a caregiver is normal and you've every right to own those feelings. Yet when you fully accept Alzheimer's or a similar dementia, you can begin to separate the disease from the person and the person from the behaviors. If you're able to do this, you can move toward knowing that the real truth is this: It's not the person you love with dementia that you're angry or frustrated with, it's the disease.

Each of you in a caregiving role can have feelings of anger, frustration, impatience or resentment. But when you place the blame where it belongs — which is on the disease and not on the person — healing can take place. And by accepting that you can't change the person with the disease, you can gently and with compassion transform yourself.

Please share your thoughts and experiences.

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Jul. 13, 2010