I have been reading ‘Loving Someone Who Has Dementia’ by Pauline Ross, PhD. The subtitle is ‘How to Find Hope While Coping With Stress and Grief’. I found the book very helpful in putting into words the emotions I have gone through in my time a carer, and giving pointers on how to cope with the conflicting emotions I experience still, even though my wife has now been in residential aged care for just over 1 year. I read the e-book version available for Kindle from Amazon.
The basic premise of the book is that dementia creates ambiguous loss. Ambiguous loss is defined as loss that is unclear, it has no resolution, no closure. Dementia causes our loved one to become someone we no longer know, they are gone – but still there. This leads to complicated grief. By the time the loved one passes away, very often the carer has grieved several times over at each and every further loss of ability, as the loved one progresses through the various changes caused by the disease.
I highly recommend this book to any person who is caring for a loved one whether they are a parent, child or spouse. The views expressed are so close to my own experiences over the time I was my wife’s carer and now that she is in residential aged care.