Grief is a normal, natural, and necessary response to loss or an upcoming loss of a loved one. Grief is an experience that is unique to each individual and experts say everyone's experience is different.
"Anger, mood swings, aches and pains, sleepless nights, crying and numbness are all commonly experienced.
According the Alzheimer’s Society, there are several ways in coping with grief:
- Face your feelings: Think about both your positive and negative feelings. Don’t deny yourself to be sad and work through your anger and frustration. It is both common and healthy to have conflicting emotions
- Anticipate feeling experiences of loss multiple times: Especially with dementia, it is fully normal to experience feelings of grief and loss over and over. These feelings are a normal process of grieving.
- Own up to your grieving process: Understand that everyone grieves differently. Some people need more time than other and some people grieve at different times. Your experience will depend on such factors as the severity and duration of your loved one’s illness.
- Talk with someone: Talk to a trusted individual about all your feelings; if you choose to go a professional, you should interview several therapists so you can find the one that you connect with.
- Acknowledge feelings of loneliness and isolation: Make sure that you are taking breaks to relieve yourself of the guilt and stress. Renew your enjoyable activities and friendships; do activities you enjoy.
- Support Group: Join one of the support groups offered all throughout the country; there are also many online resources for support groups.
- Understand that some people may not understand your grief: Many people think grief only occurs when there’s a death; it is fully normal to grieve a loved one who has a progressive cognitive illness.
- Take care of yourself: The best thing you can do for the loved one you are caring for yourself first to make sure are well rested both physically and emotionally.
The stages of grief are: denial, anger, depression and acceptance.
Grief is absolutely natural after a death or a progressively debilitating illness has occurred. However, when it is accompanied by a prolonged inability to sleep, lack of appetite, lack of desire to do anything or an inability to concentrate, some people understandably feel the need for additional support and guidance. There are many different organizations in your area that can assist you in finding the support that is right for you.
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