Talking about your role as a caregiver can be essential for maintaining clear understanding and communication between you and your loved one. By acknowledging the changes that are happening and the increased need for support, you can build a more effective relationship and a more mutually positive experience.
People living with dementia perceive their surroundings differently—and their perceptions can result in behavior that caregivers sometimes find hard to interpret.
“If there’s someone in your life who is living with dementia, looking at their environment through their eyes may give you a better sense of how they feel and why they feel that way,” says Heather Dobbert, a Fallon Health Memory Specialist. “That can make a big difference in your ability to respond to how they’re acting."
Being worried about your loved one's ability to drive safely doesn't make it easy to bring up the topic. Even if your loved one agrees that their driving is a problem, they may be too concerned about losing independence to say so.
Laura Roias, a social worker, has suggestions that can make it easier for you to start the conversation.
Very often, older adults are aware of how difficult it is for those who are helping with their care. Many are upset about it, even if they can't or won't talk about it. And some, social worker Emily Lemire says, "freely use the word burden to describe themselves in relation to their caregivers."
When you’re a caregiver, you know how helpful it is to have the support of your friends and how difficult it is if you don’t. The person you’re providing care for may feel the same way.