Dealing with frustration, anger, and guilt
More than 110,000 people ages 65 or older currently live with Alzheimer’s disease in Wisconsin. Many others live with early-onset Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia, or memory impairment. Many thousands of family caregivers provide unpaid care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
In addition to sadness, a dementia diagnosis can also carry strong emotions of anger. For caregivers, these feelings of anger, guilt, and frustration can be disturbing and worrisome. If not recognized or acknowledged, these feelings can be harmful to the caregiver and the person in their care.
One of the first things to do is get information. Denial is not a friend in these circumstances. While it may feel more comfortable to avoid learning about Alzheimer’s or dementia, education can help. Learn about the disease and the care needed. Read information from reputable books and websites, attend a support group, and talk to professionals. Finding information can build a path to slowly gaining acceptance.
It’s also vital to be proactive when facing your emotions. Identify warning signs of anger or frustration and how and when you react to them. When you are feeling frustrated, does your body respond physically? Does your jaw clench, or do you find your muscles tightening? Do you react to anger by feeling tired or sad? Learning to recognize these symptoms can help you notice them in a heated moment and can help pinpoint behaviors or events triggering these feelings. If possible, try distancing yourself from the stressful situation by taking a break, going for a walk, or doing other calming activities.
Please talk about your feelings with someone you trust or write them down. Develop a support system of friends, counselors, and family who you can talk to about your situation. You may find it helpful to develop a mantra you can repeat to yourself in times of stress.
ADAW is your partner in the journey. If you are facing the challenges of a dementia diagnosis, call us to arrange a care consultation. Call us toll-free at 888-308-6251.