October 9, 2019 by Dean Bellefeuille

Medical Diagnosis

In Isaac Asimov’s opinion, “The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.” It’s a standard response for lots of family caregivers when their loved one receives a difficult medical diagnosis, such as dementia. And while this could generate some measure of comfort in assuming that life can go forward like it always has, if only we will not admit this new reality, the truth, of course, is the fact that acceptance is essential to obtaining necessary support.

It’s understandable for a family member to want to do everything possible independently to deliver the care a loved one needs. Yet often in the crux of denial are feelings of guilt, helplessness, and in many cases incompetence in the power to “fix things.” And you can find important advantages to be achieved – both for the individual along with his or her family members – by facing the condition head-on, like the opportunity to enjoy time together, and also to discover effective approaches to deal with any issues being encountered now or while the condition progresses.

AARP offers some practical factors to consider for families struggling to come to grips with a senior’s medical diagnosis:

  • It is possible to be TOO positive. Keeping up a sunny disposition is wonderful, but may actually be harmful if not tempered with a dose of reality. Often individuals diagnosed with a chronic disease discover relief in speaking openly and truthfully about exactly what they’re experiencing, and acceptance is key to offering opportunities for such discussions.
  • Acceptance is not giving up. Rather, acknowledging your loved one’s condition opens the door to understanding successful strategies to handle the disease, and to locating the supportive services that will allow for the greatest possible quality of life.
  • Cherish the time you have together with your loved one. Letting go of denial helps you to shift your focus to implementing a new normal. There is something freeing about eliminating the elephant in the room, permitting an unencumbered closeness with your loved one.
  • Allow others to help. Going through a challenging medical diagnosis in a loved one can be a difficult process, and it’s important for family caregivers to ensure enough time is available on a consistent, regular basis for self-care. Accept any help offered by family, friends, your religious organization, etc., or reach out to a skilled home care agency like At Home Independent Living. Remember that you are able to give the best care for your loved one when you are in good health, physically and emotionally.

Choosing a dependable care partner is key. At Home Independent Living, the Fayetteville and surrounding area home health experts, can deal with many of the more mundane areas of care, to help you spend higher quality time with the older adult you love. Call us at (315) 579-4663 for an in-home consultation for more information, or to find out if our services are available in your area.