What Happens When Families Face Conflict Amidst Alzheimer’s Disease
The effects of a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease on one’s loved one can have overwhelming effects on the family as a whole. A realization that a person you care about has this condition can trigger a series of emotions ranging from anger to frustration to sadness and even fear. The struggle to deal with the condition may unintendedly cause conflicts among members of the family.
There are some things that can help in minimizing such conflict and they all revolve around addressing any issue arising together.
Sharing of responsibility
As you try to figure out how to care for your loved one, you should put into consideration the preferences, abilities, and resources of each of your family members. While some might be comfortable with providing direct care in their homes or the homes of the loved one, another family member might find it more comfortable to run errands or help with household chores. You might also put into consideration choosing a person to handle legal or financial issues.
2. Regular Meetings
Caring for your loved one also involves planning family meetings regularly. These meetings should carry along everyone who is a member of the team that provides care and that includes your family friends as well as close contacts. To make things convenient, sharing updates via email with every member or sending them updates through any social media platform is also helpful.
During these family meetings, endeavor to talk about the caregiving responsibility of each person and also the challenges any of them might be facing. The necessary changes should be made and you should remain open to making compromises. You should also be open to considering the possibilities you probably didn’t consider previously. If you find those meetings have the tendency to develop into arguments, then consider speaking to a social worker, mediator or counselor to moderate the meetings.
3. Remain Honest
Talking about feelings in a very open and constructive manner can help to reduce tension. If a person feels overwhelmed or stressed, then the person should be able to say so. Everyone should then be willing to work together in brainstorming effective ways for sharing the responsibility of caring. Where necessary, don’t hesitate to bring a professional on board.
When expressing your feelings, be careful not to blame or shame someone else. Also, when others are talking about their own feelings and thoughts, keep your mind open.
4. Avoid Criticizing
There are different good ways of providing care and so take note of the styles, values, and abilities of other caregivers. You should be supportive of those who are handling the provision of daily care.
5. Seek counselling
Peradventure you begin to see signs that the stress from handling the change could tear the family apart, don’t hesitate to seek help. That could come in form of joining a support group for caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s. Also, you can ask your caregiver team to advise you. Working through the conflicts as one helps in moving to the things that are more important, such as providing care for a loved one as well as enjoying the time spent together.
Helping Others Understand
When some people learn that a person they love has Alzheimer’s disease, they begin to get worried about telling family and also close contacts. The worry usually comes from not knowing how other people will treat or react to the person. It is hard to keep Alzheimer’s disease a secret and there is actually no one right way to tell people about the disease. Thus, when you sense that the time is right, come out honestly and tell family and friends about this. Make use of the opportunity to tell them about the condition.
You can tell them about the disease itself as well as its effects. Share with them websites, articles and also information you think relevant about it. Let them know what can be done to help.
Some tips that can help you communicate with them include telling friends and family what the loved one who has the condition still has the ability to do and also how much the person can understand. You can give those who are visiting some suggestions on how they can start conversations with the person. Also, make sure they understand not to correct when the person makes any mistake or can’t remember a thing. Rather than that, tell them to try and change the topic. Also, you can help them to plan fun-filled activities like visiting their old friends or going to reunions.
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