Alzheimer’s affects more than just the one diagnosed!

June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. This month’s awareness impacts me not just as a mental health professional, but personally. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It is a progressive disease beginning with mild memory loss and possibly leading to loss of the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to the environment. Alzheimer’s disease involves parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. It can seriously affect a person’s ability to carry out daily activities.

Alzheimer’s affects more than just the one diagnosed! The impact of this disease not only affects the diagnosed person but the family and caregivers as well. I understand this firsthand, as I am currently the caregiver of my mother who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Watching a vibrant, loving, giving woman forget how to get home in her neighborhood, forget her children’s names, become irrationally argumentative to a point she no longer reflects the character of the person I once revered is traumatic. It can also be emotionally overwhelming to take care of a family member that did not care or value you during a time they should have. Watching your loved one transition through this process can send those closest to the individual through a transition of crisis as well. The redefining of roles, responsibilities, and expectations of becoming a “parent” to someone that parented you is difficult, to say the least.

Reconciling the changing roles and dynamics can at times feel life-altering for the caregiver. While caring for others you must not neglect or discount your needs. During this process do not neglect you or your experiences because this can subconsciously erode who you are. Permit yourself to be whole and complete throughout the transitions of life by allowing yourself self-care. There is no better person to give this gift to than YOU! Contact IPCC now and find out how we can assist you to your greatest self no matter what the circumstance and live a life worth celebrating as your greatest self. Todd Malloy is a relationship and sex therapist, and Sexuality Educator at Inner Peace Counseling Center where he serves a clinical Director. He is an academic lecturer, a public speaker and a show developer and producer.

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