From disempowerment to strength

How would it be - even if it was only for a moment - to once again feel the bond of love between you and your loved one with dementia? Words cannot describe that bond of love, but in it you feel and you know that you are safe.

Your heart is open towards your loved one, but how can you keep your heart open when the one you love so much behaves in a way that irritates, hurts or even makes you angry? How can you not feel upset when your loved one does not hear, or recognise you, because of their state of dementia? You encounter feelings of powerlessness again and again, triggered by the process of deterioration that you are witnessing.

Your bond of love - without it you would not be committed - is affected by those feelings of powerlessness. But the same bond also causes you to hide these feelings. It might even be that you have feelings of guilt: your loved one cannot help being in a state of dementia. There is no need for such feelings. The reality is that these feelings are absolutely normal under such circumstances. Dealing with dementia is precarious and unpredictable, there is no recipe.

What is possible is to be honest with yourself. That starts with being open about what you feel, including your feelings of powerlessness. If you can air those feelings in a safe environment and learn to accept them, it brings relief and takes away the heaviness of the burden. In that way you create the space to see yourself and the situation from a different perspective. New possibilities are created for you to have more heart for yourself and to connect to your loved one with an open heart, even if that is only for a short moment.