Written by Pam Kovacs Johnson
When a disease like Alzheimer’s affects our brain & memory, it is only natural that emotions will be affected as well. Memory loss takes away information which reassures us, provides comfort and confidence, and enables us to trust.
Memory is what allows a person to feel in control of his life, his thought processes, and also to know what is real and what is not. Without memory, there are many negative emotions and feelings that affect relationships, and one’s sense of well-being. This can also lead to challenging disease-related behaviors.
Below are common emotions and feelings associated with dementia, along with the caregiving goals to achieve desirable emotional outcomes:
- Fear-Safe and secure
- Embarrassment-Confidant, self-assured
- Confusion- Familiar, clear, understood
- Anxiety-Comfortable, content, at ease
- Frustration-Untroubled, serene, peaceful
- Paranoia-Protected, guarded, trustworthy
- Anger-Composed, unruffled, calm
- Depression-Cheerful,enthusiastic, gladness, good spirits
An awareness of disease-related emotional responses can help family to better understand how a loved one feels at times in a variety of different situations, and respond to their needs accordingly.
When loving and caring for someone with any type of dementia, the primary goal is always to ensure they have the best possible quality of life. As a caregiver, we hope that our actions, words and deeds will enable them to continue to fully enjoy life each and every day.