Healthy Living

The Heartbreaking Loss, Grief, and Bereavement of Alzheimer's Disease

Being aware of her guilt, Wilkins does her best to not think of it

According to the Alzheimer's Reading Room, "Guilt may be the most annoying of the 'seven deadly emotions' of Alzheimer's caregiving." Caregivers like Betsy feel it all: the guilt, resentment, worry, fear, anger, loneliness and grief. Wilkins has expressed that she had felt that she hasn't doneĀ enough.

She said to us, "What else could I really do?" Wilkins told us that she does everything for her mother, Lucille*. Before her, her father took care of her by bringing her to her necessary appointments, cooking, cleaning, and ensuring that she would take her meds. But, five years back, he died of a heart attack and it changed everything. "Right now, I'm not working," says Wilkins. "My mother doesn't have anyone, but me. I had to put everything on hold because she couldn't remember to pay the bills, or where she put her shoes, and now she's beginning to have trouble remembering the more basic skills. I feel like I am doing everything and anything, but it's never enough."

When she needs a break from reality, Wilkins often goes off by herself. "You need me-time. You should never disregard it," she said. Wilkins tries to write her thoughts down and read others' experience with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia. And then, when she doesn't want to think about it she spends time with her children.