When you’re dealing with someone who’s negative, it can be exhausting.
And when it’s a parent, it’s often worse. You want your parent to be loving and kind. Unfortunately sometimes aging and disease change people.
After Margaret’s husband died, she moved in with her daughter Janet.
Janet knew her mother was negative at times. Until she lived with Margaret as an adult, Janet had no idea how negative her mother was. Janet felt no matter what she did, it wasn’t good enough for Margaret. It made living with Margaret difficult and stressful for Janet.
Janet felt as though she never heard a “Thank you” or any kind of encouragement from Margaret. After Margaret was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease, Janet learned how negativity can be associated with it.
What are some conditions and diseases possibly causing increased negativity?
* Because Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias attack the brain of the person affected, they can have personality changes. Negativity can be one of those changes.
*Sometimes negativity is associated with pain.
* Negativity may be associated with low oxygen, as the brain needs oxygen to function correctly.
* And it can be a sign of depression, grieving or a similar problem.
* There are other causes too.
So what are some things you can do about negativity?
Talk to your care recipient’s doctor. When you notice an increase in negativity it may be a sign of an underlying disease or problem. Or maybe medications need adjusting.
Noticing when the negativity is increased may show a pattern of behavior. It may show you behavior that seems to trigger the negativity. Your care recipient’s doctor may have some suggestions on how to redirect the behavior. Often dementia patients are confused or afraid due to not being able to process information. And patients may not be able to tell what’s wrong – or even that something is wrong.
- Do you need more support? Ask! You may need more breaks in your caregiving to cope. Or maybe you need emotional, physical or financial support from other family members. If you need extra help, ask the doctor what services are available locally.
Sometimes you need to find your own support. It may even come from unexpected places.
In Janet’s case, her sister brings Janet funny stories either from her family or from the Internet. And makes sure Janet is getting rest and nurturing.
And Janet daily gets inspiration from meditation and prayer.
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To your healthy caregiving,
Ina Gilmore M.D. (ret.)
“The Knitting Dr.”