By Shari Flight
When we think about the grieving process, we think about dealing with the passing of a loved one. However, when someone is diagnosed with dementia the family caregivers begin to go through this grieving process, sometimes unbeknownst to them. Although their loved one is still physically here, they begin to grieve for the loss of the person they have always known.
The grieving process consists of five stages, including denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. In a recent support group at The Cordwainer, we discussed each stage and asked everyone in attendance to identify where they believed they were. Some of our attendees knew exactly where they were and could identify how they got there or how they would get to the next stage. Other attendees, upon talking about their loved ones and all that they are experiencing, realized that they are still in both the denial and anger stages. It can be very challenging for a caregiver to move from these stages because it is very difficult to accept the changes being seen in your loved one—both physically and cognitively.
The beauty of our support group is that we have attendees who have varying experiences, relationships, approaches, outside support and more. This truly allows them to assist each other by sharing their stories with one another. Being able to support one another through the very windy road that is dementia is so beneficial. We all need someone to lean on at one point or another.
The Cordwainer is proud to offer this Dementia Caregiver Support Group once a month on the last Wednesday of each month from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Our goal is to assist caregivers through this journey in any way that you need. If you feel as though you could use a place to open up about your struggles, successes, and meet other caregivers then please reach out to us!
To learn more about the stages of grieving, click here.
Shari Flight is The Cordwainer’s Director of Community Relations. She co-facilitates The Cordwainer memory care support groups alongside The Cordwainer’s Program Director Somita Ray.