I have been speaking to audiences on recognizing and coping with dementia in a loved one and I share that the most useful coping mechanism for me was to imagine that my mom and dad had head injuries. For whatever reason, it allowed me to be much more compassionate and understanding when my parents said things that were hurtful or behaved poorly.
I know the dementia is out of their control, but I believe I was feeling as if it was a medical condition they were ignoring or even denying, when in reality, it’s a medical condition they can’t understand and do not recognize how their behavior had changed.
I don’t want to offend those with head injuries or their advocates – I just want to share that viewing my parent’s ailments as a head injury helped me reset my expectations and provide them with the love and support they needed. Visualized.