Sometimes a barrier to providing care to a loved one with memory loss is no doubt the seemingly severed relationship that it causes. It creates so many questions within ourselves and many feelings of doubt and maybe even unworthiness. Too often I’ve heard the challenge of caregivers who are unable to surrender to memory loss the struggle and emotional angst that it can cause can be constantly carried by the caregiver because we view memory loss as the offender or the thief that stole your loved one or at least their memories from you.
This is most notably when your loved one forgets you or important memories that you shared. I understand the deeply personal seemingly attack memory loss has on your relationship coupled with the complexities of having to provide this level of care but I think it is important to breathe back in a fuller story or narrative, one that is easier to share as a bystander yes, but not less important.
Your loved one is on a journey and memory loss is a part of a journey that we must honor for both them and yourself as it has undoubtedly become a part of your journey as well. It is common and understandable that in moments of high confusion and longing for the loved one you once knew to come back, you start to want to question them in hopes they provide you with the comfort of remembering but while maybe helpful in the moment this exercise does not give you or honor the power you have within yourself. Yes, your loved one may have moments of clarity. Enjoy these moments and embrace them for what they are, moments, but holding out that these moments are anything more than that can make the continued effects of memory loss all the more painful.
In a surrender to or acceptance of the memory loss journey your loved one is on you gain back so much of your power. Here are affirmations that may be helpful throughout your caregiving journey, and remember that it doesn’t take two to remember. Your loved one’s heart is not affected by memory loss and that knowingness will never go away.
My loved one doesn’t remember who I am, but I remember and honor our relationship both past and present.
My loved one thinks that I left them, but I know they are safe and well cared for
My loved one confuses me for someone else they know, I know that is their heart remembering they know me
My loved one is angry all of the time, and I would feel anger too if I couldn’t remember important pieces of myself, in remembering I will provide care that honors the past preferences they may not remember
My loved one is scared, I remember what soothes them.
I remember for the both of us so that they can focus on the feeling of love and not the memories we share.
I am an important and vital person in their memory loss journey and that is irreplaceable.
My loved one’s memory loss is not personal they did not choose this and they don’t have control over the symptoms that it creates.
Additional Reading What to Do When an Aging Parent Forgets Who You Are
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