Dementia is a debilitating illness which will dramatically change the person you once knew. Even though they are still there physically, a person caring from someone with dementia may still experience feelings of grief and loss for a number of reasons. If this person is a spouse the grieving may be for the future they could have had, the relationship they shared and the support and understanding from them that was taken for granted. It is also natural for a person to grieve for the lifestyle and freedom they once had as well as for financial stability which may now change.
Holding someones hand through dementia is a wildly ever-changing experience, initial feelings of hope and optimism for a cure may soon turn in to frustration and despair and could even lead to a suppression of feelings. It’s likely that after these up’s and downs it will become slightly easier to cope with the situation and make the best of things. However, dementia is an illness which progresses over time and it may be that just as a carer is coming to terms with a person’s behaviour, it could alter and decline even further.
Resentment is a common part of the process as you may feel that restrictions have been placed on your own life and things have not turned out as you pictured. If you are feeling like this then it is important to recognise that you are under a great deal of stress and may need to seek emotional support for yourself.
When a person with dementia dies, some people may find that because they have grieved so much over the course of the illness they feel numb when the person dies and they have no strong feelings left. Others may feel relief, others shock and some may feel guilt, anger or resentment. Whatever the feelings it will take a long time to come to terms with a persons death and those who have acted as carers may feel like they now have no purpose.
It may be that you need a helping hand getting back on your feet and talking to a counsellor could help you to do this. A counsellor can help you to re-establish your own life and move forward with positive memories of the past. As well as seeking help from a professional always remember that you can get plenty of support from friends and family.
If you would like to contact a counsellor specialising in bereavement you can do so by using the search tool on the homepage of this site.