May 26, 2017

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.

Abandonment of Alzheimer's Caregivers is Common

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 Siblings

Pamela 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!!!"

Alzheimer's Care, Sitting 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.

The Importance of Socialization in Dementia Care

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.

Related Articles

Touch and Kindness in Dementia Care

Do you correct someone with dementia?

Coping with Dementia

Alzheimer's Care and Communication

Care of Dementia Patients

6 reasons why you might have to put someone with dementia in a memory care facility

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.

Comments from the Alzheimer's Reading Room on Facebook

Amber Ring
You definitely find out who your real family is with this disease. Going on 2 years in the final stages of vascular dementia now, I can count on one hand who is still around for my grandmother.. it's sad really.

Danielle Ortman
My sweet daddy had this horrible disease & passed away in November. I miss him dearly. I just don't understand how my brother & his wife didn't make time to help in any way, during the past 3 years of difficult times. There is no excuse when parents do so much for their children!

Elaine Jeffries Turley
Absolutely! It's like we have ceased to exist for some. They don't know what to say or feel uncomfortable being around. It is sad.

Gloria Woods
Great article !!!! So true.

Cathi Claiborne Peters
My dad says to me in rare lucid moments, why don't they come and see me, I helped them learn to tie their shoes, I held their hands.....I have no answer...I change the subject, when I leave i go down to the end of the street, stop my car,and cry...I cry by myself a lot....

You are reading original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room

"The Alzheimer’s Reading Room is clearly one of the most informative and unbiased Alzheimer’s blogs. Bob DeMarco provides information on all things Alzheimer’s."

"The blog covers the spectrum on Alzheimer’s issues, featuring everything from critical advice from someone who is on the front line caring for a loved one with the disease, to translating and reporting on the science and research that is leading the way to a cure".

"All of us in the Alzheimer’s community are fortunate that Bob has taken on this important work. At Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, we encourage people to follow the Alzheimer's Reading Room; and, we rely on it ourselves to stay up to date and in touch."

Tim Armour
President of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund