“I fought it for so long. I didn't want to believe that my accomplished and competent mother had dementia,” says Heather. “As soon as I gave into it and opened myself to being educated and supported,” she adds, “I found another whole world out there, beginning with JF&CS.”
Heather is a participant in Balancing Act, the JF&CS monthly support and discussion group for adults whose parent has dementia. Like other participants, Heather is adjusting to a new and evolving relationship with someone she’s known all her life – a parent who now lives with dementia. The difficult emotional journey of adults like Heather is compounded by the need to make decisions and provide direct care, often while juggling work and other family demands.
Erika, another Balancing Act participant, describes her surprise at how it has felt to “lose a person even though they are still physically there.” Like Heather, through support and education she has discovered surprising aspects of the dementia journey that can make it easier. For example, she has realized that “the things that are most painful to you are not necessarily painful to them.” Says Heather, “My mother is very loving toward me when she knows that I'm sad or upset. It's nice to see that part of her can still be reached.”