Kenneth M. Sakauye, a geriatric psychiatrist at UT Medical Group in Memphis, Tenn., says while Alzheimer’s changes personalities and relationships “that doesn’t mean you stop loving”—though “you may have to dig a little deeper to find that love.” On the toughest days, try to remember how your loved one once was. If there was once an affectionate bond, he says, it hasn’t disappeared. “It’s changing and growing,” he says.
As an example of how relationships evolve, Dr. Sakauye cites a caregiver who spent her entire life seeking her mother’s approval and affection. She felt her mother loved her sister more. Yet after her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she stopped playing favorites – and the daughter stopped caring about being the favorite. She simply enjoyed the time they had left together. It created a special bond that actually brought them closer than ever before.
No relationship remains the same forever. “As a parent, you loved your children differently when they were two than when they were 20,” he points out. “It’s the same as your parent ages.”
Even in the most advanced cases of Alzheimer’s, your loved one may have moments of clarity and recognition. They will be fleeting, but embrace, treasure and remember them. Your loved one is still there, and your love has not abandoned you.
When Alzheimer’s Steals Your Loved One’s Personality originally appeared on AgingCare.com. Visit AgingCare.com for more information on caregiving, senior living, and elder care.