Dealing With Embarrassment When Your Loved One Has Dementia
Dear Candid Caregiver (Carol): My dad enjoys going to the park and watching kids play. Since I try hard to give him the best life he can have considering that he has Alzheimer’s disease, I find this a positive experience. The problem is that there are times when Dad is glaringly inappropriate and I don’t know how to handle these moments.
As an example, last week, he saw a child in the park dipping his toes in a pond. Dad began lecturing the child about not “falling in.” Of course, the child was confused and the mother seemed upset. I explained dad’s situation to the mom and she was kind, but I was embarrassed. So far, nothing has gone beyond that kind of embarrassment, but I am afraid that he may say or do something one of these days, especially when children are present, that causes someone to call the police. I know that this isn’t his fault but how do others deal with similar situations?
Sincerely, Embarrassed Daughter
Dear Embarrassed Daughter: I do understand. I can tell by reading your note that you are on top of things, so you understand that this tendency may get worse, and that’s scary.
Just to show you that you’re not alone, I will share one of my experiences. I was waiting with my 85-year-old neighbor, Joe, to get some lab work done. A woman walked by who was definitely overweight. Joe looked up, pointed, and screeched at full volume, “There’s a fat one!” To make matters worse, she walked back to her chair and he hollered, “There she is again!” So, yeah, I know embarrassment.
Continue reading on HealthCentral for support in dealing with the embarrassment over social gaffs made by someone we love who happens to have dementia:
Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories. “For anyone having to walk the last segments of life with a loved one, read this.” …Delores
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