Jan 13, 2016

Dementia Patients are People Too

Why are patients living with dementia abandoned by family, relatives and friends?

One of the biggest problems we face in the Alzheimer's and dementia care communities is the abandonment of both the caregiver and the person living with dementia by family, relatives and friends.

This causes a great deal of psychological and emotional pain for both the caregiver and the person living with dementia.

Embracing the reality of someone living with dementia

It is not unusual for caregiver to tell me that as time goes on, and as Alzheimer's worsens, one by one their family and friends fade away.


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In the article Are Alzheimer's Caregivers the Forgotten? I wrote,
One issue that really frustrates me is the treatment of Alzheimer's caregivers. 
Most Alzheimer's caregivers hear people tell them how wonderful they are for taking care of their loved one. 
As a caregiver, I learned to appreciate these compliments. They help, they really do.
However, if you have a loved one, family member, or friend that is an Alzheimer's caregiver and all you do is tell them what a great job they are doing -- it is not enough.

Many Alzheimer's caregivers are forgotten by family and friends. This is a sad truth that is rarely discussed. 
This is understandable -- Alzheimer's is scary and disconcerting. It is hard to accept, hard to understand, and hard to watch as it progresses.
The odd part in this dynamic is that is not unusual for people to say - I don't know how you do it, or you are doing a great job. Then they do nothing. Wouldn't it be true that if it so difficult to do - you need some help? Why don't they offer to help, or help?

In the article Alzheimer's and The Invisible SiblingsPamela Kelly wrote in response to this question - ... they refuse to help. I want a stat on the deadbeats so they can see themselves officially identified. Right now they are invisible".
"If everyone who identified themselves as a primary caregiver also indicated how many siblings they have who do not help … well, my conservative estimate is 15 million!!!"
In Alzheimer's Caregiver's Get Lonely in the Front Row I wrote,
Unless you are an Alzheimer's caregiver it is almost impossible to either understand or comprehend what it is like living in the front row. 
Unless you are one of us, you have no clue. It really is as simple as that - you have no clue.
We the caregivers and the persons living with dementia are no different than anyone else. We need company, we need help, we need socialization and when we are avoided or abandoned we feel lonely.

Lonliness leads to sadness and unhappiness. We are already sad given the circumstances in which we live each day. But this sadness worsens when everyone starts to forget about us. Not only are we sad and lonely, we suffer sometimes from what I call deep sadness. Deep sadness is a form of depression.

Wouldn't you like to shout,

Why are you abandoning me? I am already sad and you are making it worse.

Help Us!

No one has said it better than dementia patient Alan “Beam” Beamer. He is lonely, he feels abandoned, and all he wants is for his friends to come visit him and treat him like a real person.

Watch his impassioned plea and video here - Alzheimer's Patients makes a tearful video asking friends to come and visit.

You might want to copy and paste the URL from this article into an email and send it to family, relatives and friends.

Why not? You can't make the situation worse, and who knows, maybe someone will listen.

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room (ARR). Bob is a recognized expert, writer, speaker, and influencer in the Alzheimer's and Dementia Community worldwide. The Alzheimer's Reading Room contains more than 5,000 articles and has been published daily since July, 2009.

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