5 Uplifting Emotions Felt by Alzheimers Dementia Care Partners

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I reflected in another post on five raw emotions Alzheimers and dementia caregivers feel every day. These feelings are sometimes hard to deal with. They make care partnering a real challenge. But care partners such as myself also experience hopeful, positive, uplifting emotions that fill our hearts and keep us going round and round up and down on the care partnering rollercoaster.

Here are five I wouldn’t give up for the world:

1) Compassion

For the people I care with/for, for me, for all the other care partners out there; for every person with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, for anyone who never asked for nor wanted the role of care partner but who could not abandon a loved one in her or his time of need.

2) Joy

That is found in small things that I experience with people living with dementia: watching a sunset, singing, afternoon tea, rhyming words, enjoying flowers, holding hands, seeing each other with eyes that are not yet blind, hearing each other with ears that are not yet deaf and connecting at a deeper level.

3) Love

In a way that I don’t recall having experienced before. During this journey with people with dementia I have let go of old resentments, stopped caring so much about being seen myself and instead focused on fully seeing people with dementia as they are. The best gift I have received is the capacity to love unconditionally, without expectation, without need. Priceless.

4) Tenderness

Of the body, heart and soul that comes from being at once totally depleted yet more alive, exposed and aware than ever. The tenderness of the bond between people who love each other and those around them in new and different ways.

5) Gratitude

That even though I didn’t want this care partnering role, I chose it for the right reasons and in fulfilling it I experience unconditional love (from the giving side), discover aspects of myself I didn’t know existed, heal long-held hurts and wounds, and grow into a better human being than the one I was before.

Strange as it may sound, I’m grateful or all of these joys and sorrows as well as the more difficult raw emotions I feel. In an odd way, I’m also thankful to Alzheimer’s disease for having given me the opportunity to be fully, tragically, lovingly human.

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13 Comments

  1. I too can related to these lovely stories of kindness and compassion. My Mom is now gone and I have to say she was such a loving person and thoughtful in her Dementia times a great deal of the time. What a blessing for me. It made it very easy to reciprocate and then even have so much more that I could share and give her because of her love. I learned so much from this experience. That isn’t to say there weren’t some testy times for sure. The love we could share together allowed me much more patience and caring which is exactly where I wanted to be. I just watched a movie clip we took of her and my sister when my sister came to visit of the 3 of us laughing almost hysterically as my Mom was the instigator of the laughter and saying such funny things. What a lovely memory.

    • Laurie, thank you so much for sharing that tender and beautiful memory and for letting people know that the journey, while incredibly difficult, may also prove to be healing, enriching, and so incredibly worthwhile. I have no doubt your mother is still with you in spirit, and virtually still holding your hand every day <3 Thank you so much for following the blog and for being there for others.

  2. Carol bird rose on

    My mother had Alzheimer , she has gone to be with the lord , but doing the years she had always been a lovely gentle person and never complain. I and my sisters were her caregivers and as as hard as it was we would not of had it any other way, our mother richly blessed our life even doing her illness and we will forever be greatful. I love the different stories that I read about the caregiver and there love one ,it blesses me and help me to live and learn, I thank God for that, its made me more understanding and greatful

  3. What amazing and true comments. I think so many of us share your sentiments. The real reward is in experiencing those uplifting emotions that you’ve so beautifully described. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Yesterday I visited my dad and mom, who has dementia. It was a joy to take her to the aesthetician to get spruced up – which she loved and dad loved the results. Earlier, my sister commented with humour on mom’s mismatched socks – and mom quipped that she had another pair exactly the same. In what could be viewed as a grim situation, it’s wonderful to see that spark!

    • Hey Liz! Long time! I share your biker bits from time to time. Nice to see you here and thanks for the comment. Sorry you are on this journey also, but glad you’re finding moment of joy and happiness as well <3

  5. I can relate. In some weird, bittersweet way, my mom’s Alzheimer’s has given us a new lease on what was a sad and damaged relationship. Our connection (on the phone or on person) is much more basic, joyful and loving now than I ever remember them being on the past. My old resentments and pain are not gone or suppressed or even buried. They exist as a small shadow on a large landscape of love.

    • Yes! What a beautiful sentiment: “They exist as a small shadow on a large landscape of love.”

      The experience has completely healed the parts of me that were damaged by our relationship. Possibly for the first time in my life I have experienced completely unconditional love – the giving of it, not the receiving of it. I don’t think I have yet experienced the receiving of it and that was one of the “damaged” bits for me. But that is healed completely. I don’t feel any need to receive anything at all from her and all past wounds are healed. It’s a quite and amazing gift actually… 🙂

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