Confused Enough to Be Confused


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Today’s topic is about being confused enough to be…confused.

I had a care partner say to me recently, “I feel really guilty saying this, but I wish my dad was more confused.” I totally get that, and a lot of you probably do feel this way, and it makes total sense. I say this all the time. Someone living with dementia who’s in an earlier stage of cognitive loss, they’re just confused enough to be confused, but they’re not confused enough to where they can’t tell you that you are wrong, right? They’re almost impossible to talk to because they constantly argue with you. They’re constantly telling you you’re wrong. They won’t let you put anybody in the house to help care for them. They won’t let you transition them to a community and they’re just in a tough spot, and therefore you are in a tough spot. So when you have a loved one living with dementia and you’re like, man, this person is confused, but they’re not so confused that they can’t make a really good argument as to why I’m wrong.

That’s a difficult stage. That’s usually this early moderate stage is what I’d call it – early verging into a moderate stage. And don’t feel guilty if you’re feeling this way. Don’t feel guilty like, oh my God, I really should not be wishing that my loved one was more progressed in the deceased process. Because guess what? You are not alone. That is a common feeling for people because truly early stages of cognitive loss are really tough for the person living with dementia, and they’re also really tough for the family. The person living with dementia’s aware that they have dementia, maybe they might not be fully, fully aware of it, but they know something’s up, and that’s a tough spot to be in. So don’t feel guilty if you find yourself wishing this person would progress a little bit more. It’s okay if you’re struggling with feelings like this guilt or anything else. Please consider joining my Patreon. We have a support group. We do monthly plus. We have a really great Slack channel where everybody can communicate with each other. You can chat with fellow care partners about these issues. Thanks for tuning in.

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Rachael Wonderlin is an internationally-recognized dementia care expert and consultant. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of three published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. Rachael owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting and education company.

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