For Caregivers

Coping with Emotions

Living with an unpredictable, chronic disease can be scary and frustrating. Your loved one may be frightened about the future and frustrated about the present. No longer able to do many of the things they previously enjoyed, your loved one may feel isolated, angry or sad. The loss of cognitive – or thinking abilities – is often more distressing for people with HE than the physical changes they experience.

Listening to your loved one and talking through the concerns that both of you have can be helpful. Some people find it beneficial to have regularly scheduled time for conversation. Collecting your thoughts before presenting them for discussion will make it easier to listen, speak calmly, and stay on topic.

In addition, your loved one may find it helpful to talk about the stress and emotions of dealing with HE with someone outside his or her immediate circle of friends and family. This can be a social worker or mental health therapist. In fact, both you and your loved one – either separately or together – can benefit from speaking with a therapist or other person outside the situation to get a clearer perspective and learn constructive communication techniques.

If communication is difficult because your loved one is experiencing memory problems, confusion and mood swings, consult a healthcare professional.