Tom Meuser, Ph.D., director of the Center for Excellence in Aging and Health (CEAH), was recently interviewed about caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s by Healthline, one of the fastest growing health information sites covering all facets of physical and mental health.
The focus of the article is the difficulty adult children have witnessing changes in a parent with Alzheimer’s.
“It can be upsetting to be with a parent who raised you and you’ve known as robust and capable,” Meuser told Healthline.
Meuser points out that there is a point in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease at which the person has undergone psychosocial death, meaning they are no longer the person they have been most of their life. This occurs because the person has lost his or her historical memory and lives only in the present.
“Forgetting children or spouses is a hallmark of psychosocial death,” Meuser stated. “The body is there, but the person is radically different. That is often a trigger for grief and loss, more so than bodily death in advanced dementia.”
Meuser says caregivers are at an increased risk for anxiety and depression, so it is important that they look after their own well-being.