A missed dose of love can cause serious side effects. (this means self-love too) If you do not take care of yourself, you will be less efficient caring for another)
When someone is gravely ill, you must love them even more.You don’t complain about their cry for attention or their odd behavior. You will hear sarcasm sometimes and things you do not like hearing from the person battling any condition that is threatening their life. Their remark is not going to kill you, choose not to engage in a disagreement. Let it go and try hard to understand their anger, fear, and hurt about their circumstance. It would be petty on your end to take it personally. Can you imagine what you would say to a soldier given a chance to speak to them on the phone during battle? Think about it….You can just love, and be supportive.
Love is to bear all burdens; love is patience and kindness. It can be very frustrating if you are caring for a loved one whose cognitive and memory functions are depleted. I remember when I had cancer, I was on a medication that severely affected my memory and my daughter laughed at me in disbelief because she did not understand how I would forget things. It felt like the movie Ground Hog Day when she would have to repeat the same thing over and over to me. She wasn’t informed of the side effects of the drug Gabapentin (it gets rid of nerve pain) from the surgery, and I was also on hydromorphone. I would forget things daily. My daughter would say in disbelief, “Mom, I just showed you how to do that HTML code yesterday” then it was “Mom I just put that HTML code on a piece of paper on your nightstand, remember?” I was afraid I was losing my mind permanently, just one added fear on top of being afraid of death. I had to hide my fears from my daughter.
One day I highlighted all the side effects of the drugs and put all the drug info paperwork in a notebook so she would understand. In frustration and tears, I showed her why I was having so much trouble remembering…I was bed ridden and just tired, but we got through it together. She was so compassionate, and it was detective work trying to figure everything out as we went along. This empowered me and made me recognize it would only be temporary. Knowledge is power.
If memory loss is affecting your loved one that is ill, they still have the ability to feel frightened or at peace. The are still able to feel love and need reassurance. The most helpful way to be is to focus on easing their emotional discomfort and provide the most meaningful connection to make them feel safe, loved and secure.
Reach out for help and support for yourself and remind those who are in your family struggling with the same challenges that love is what matters most, alleviating stress and fear as well and helping them always to feel safe and happy. Try to find a book for you to read privately that explains the fear they are experiencing. Be a private detective in the emotional aspect of what they are going through and how it is affecting them. Don’t ever tell them they have issues because you are angry or impatient. They know! They are holding on. Just love and support them. Our love needs to be patient love.
Have family meetings to talk about the changes taking place. Study together; there are so many books to choose from to learn about their condition.