Friday, February 1, 2013

8 Ways to Spot Your Denial About Dementia

If you find yourself doing one or more of these things, you know you're in denial:
  1. Ignoring tell-tale signs such as your loved one tripping or dropping things. These actions are more than a sign of clumsiness-- they are indications that the nervous system is impaired.
  2. Idealizing him or her to the point where you think of your loved one as perfect or a saint who couldn't do anything wrong.
  3. Rationalizing his or her behavior. Saying, "It doesn't matter that she just turned on the burners on the stove and walked away without putting a pot on to boil. She'll be back in a minute." She won't, and you could have a fire.
  4. Allowing your loved one to walk the streets unaccompanied when you know he or she can get lost. Getting lost and losing a sense of direction is a symptom of dementia.
  5. Expecting your loved one to follow his usual schedule. You must adapt to the changes caused by dementia. He can't go to work as usual, as much as he might want to go. He might not even be able to get to the doctor. Consider hiring a nurse's aide or enlisting your support system to be with your loved one as much as possible.
  6. Letting your loved one continue to drive or handle machinery. OK, so you live in Florida or California and there is no other way to get around. Drive him or her yourself, or hire a driver.
  7. Getting angry out of proportion to what happened. You are suppressing your feelings when you're in denial, so your anger and many other feelings will be much more intense than usual. Once you stop the denial, it is possible to regain control of your emotions.
  8. Projecting your own feelings on your loved one. He might not be feeling what you think he's feeling. Take the time to sit down and talk with him at length and try to find out what he is really feeling.
Jump to the Huffington Post to read the full article.