How can I cope with my feelings?

Living with dementia can be very hard - not just for the person who is ill, but for their family and friends. When somebody in your family has dementia, it can change your life in many different ways.

It's normal to feel many different emotions but some can be very difficult to cope with. Here are some things you can do to help:

  1. Talk about it.

Don’t try to hide your feelings. Talk to someone you trust.

This can be hard, especially if the person you’d like to talk to is dealing with his or her own feelings. You may worry that it might upset them to talk about it, or that they have too much to do. But they would much rather you talked to them than worried.

Some children find it helpful to speak to friends, or other people who are experiencing the same thing. If you can’t think of anyone you can talk to, visit the links page for ideas about where to get help and support.

Be around people that understand, being able to talk to people about it helps.

  1. Be yourself.

It’s normal to feel happy, to laugh, and to think about the other things that are happening in your life. Don’t feel bad about being yourself. When things don’t go to plan, remember that it’s not your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong.

  1. Ask questions.

If you see, hear, or read something that makes you feel worried, scared, angry or upset, ask someone about it. If they don’t know the answer themselves, they can help you to find somebody who does. It can feel simpler to search for answers on the Internet, but everyone with dementia is different. What is true for one person may not be true for your relative, or your family.

Click on the words below to read about feelings and experiences that other children and young people have shared.

Questions

Watching her fade away in front of my eyes made my heart break every time I saw her.

Shannon

I feel horrid. Heartbroken. She can't treasure moments with me the way I can with her.

Hannah

I feel sad because she doesn't remember my dad and me anymore.

Tanya

Seeing the hoist and equipment needed by the carers to move her makes me sad. Sometimes I think Nanny has forgotten me and thinks that I'm my Mum (now crying thinking of this).

Hannah

It makes me feel sad, because they are forgetting the people they love.

Zoe

It's sad when I see my granddad because I remember how he used to be and my grannie has to work so hard to make sure that he is comfortable all the time.

Imogen

I feel upset and I feel like I'm missing out on my nan.

Sarah

I don’t remember how my nana was when she was first diagnosed but at the end she was just laid in a bed in a care home, not being able to do anything for herself. She couldn’t eat, her airways were closing and she was just so sleepy. It broke my heart.

Rebecca

This information was updated in November 2019 and is due for review in November 2021. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.