In Isaac Asimov’s opinion, “The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.” It’s an accurate depiction of many family caregivers when their loved one is diagnosed with a chronic condition, such as dementia. And while this could generate some measure of comfort in trusting that life can go on as it always has, if only we refuse to admit this new reality, the truth, needless to say, is that acknowledgement is a must to obtaining necessary support.
It’s understandable for a family member to want to do everything possible to provide the care a senior needs. However, often in the crux of denial are feelings of guilt, helplessness, and in many cases, a loss of control over the inability to “fix things.” And there are certainly major benefits to be gained – both for the senior loved one and his or her family members – by facing the situation head-on, like the chance to savor time together, and to discover effective techniques to manage any issues faced now or while the condition progresses.
AARP shares some helpful factors to consider for families struggling to accept a loved one’s diagnosis:
- It is possible to be TOO positive. Maintaining a positive disposition is very useful, but could actually be dangerous if not tempered with a dose of reality. Often individuals with a chronic disease find relief in talking freely and honestly about what they’re facing, and acceptance is key to providing opportunities for such discussions.
- Acceptance is not giving up. Instead, accepting your loved one’s condition opens the door to understanding practical strategies to manage the condition, make informed decisions, and to choose the supportive services that will enable the highest possible quality of life.
- Treasure the time you have together with your family member. Letting go of denial enables you to shift your focus to setting up a new normal. There’s something liberating about removing the elephant in the room, allowing for an unencumbered closeness with your loved one.
- Permit others to help. Being confronted with a difficult diagnosis in someone you care about can be an overwhelming process. It is necessary for family caregivers to ensure adequate time is available on a consistent, regular basis for self-care. Accept any help offered by family, friends, religious organizations, etc., and contact an established home care agency like JFS Care. Keep in mind that you can offer the best care for your family member when you’re in good health, physically and emotionally.
Finding a dependable care partner is key. JFS Care can manage some of the more mundane facets of chronic disease care, to help you spend high quality time with the senior you love. Call us at (213) 383-2273 for an in-home consultation for additional information about senior care in Santa Monica. Our qualified caregivers serve Los Angeles and surrounding communities; please see our full service area.