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Beacon of HOPE Wellness Committee: Ways to cope with grief and loss

March 13, 2019
By Kathy Schwarzhoff-Dutko , Pine Island Eagle

Last month I wrote about how it is normal to feel loss when you care about someone who has Alzheimer's disease or related dementia. I discussed some common experiences in the grieving process. I hope that you will now be able to better identify when you are feeling grief and loss. Today's topic is how to do cope with these feelings.

Face your feelings: Think about all of your feelings positive as well as negative. Know that it is common to feel conflicting emotions. It is O.K. to feel love and anger at the same time.

Prepare to experience feeling of loss more than once: As dementia progresses, it is common to go through feelings of grief a loss again. Accept and acknowledge your feelings. They are a normal part of the grieving process.

Claim the grieving process as your own: No two people experience grief the same way. Grief hits different people at different times.

Talk with someone: Talk with someone you trust about your grief, guilt and anger. Perhaps meet with a therapist who specializes in grief counseling.

Combat feelings of isolation and loneliness: Caregivers often give up enjoyable activities and companionship. Stay involved in activities that make you happy.

Know that some people may not understand your grief: Most people think grief happens when someone dies. They may not know that it is possible to grieve deeply for someone who has a progressive cognitive illness.

Accept yourself: Learn to accept the things that are beyond your control.

Take care of yourself: The best thing you can do for the person you are caring for is to stay healthy. This includes taking care of your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Create balance in your life.

Join a support group: When you talk with other caregivers, share you emotions. Cry and laugh together. Do not limit conversations to caregiving tips. Alzheimer's Association support groups take place all across the country. The Beacon of Hope hosts one of these support groups every third Monday of the month at 10:30 a.m. The next meeting is March 18.

Everyone grieves differently and at his or her own pace. If your grief is so intense that your well-being is at risk, ask for help from you doctor or a professional counselor.

The Beacon of HOPE is at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St James City.

 
 

 

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