5 Steps To Help You Cope When A Loved One Has Dementia

It can be weird to say that you are grieving when a person you love is still with you on earth. However, when that loved one is experiencing dementia and is staying in assisted living facilities, it can feel like you are mourning the person you once knew.

This emotion is called anticipatory grief, and it is quite common. If you are experiencing this and wondering how to manage your feelings, we have five steps to help you when you have a loved one in dementia care.

Implement a Self-Care Regime

We all know this can be easier said than done, but it is critical to integrate appropriate self-care techniques to help you cope with everything happening in your life. Going through dementia with a loved one is emotionally draining, and taking care of yourself will help you stay the course.

Whether it is regular massage, participating in meditation, or carving out an evening every week to have dinner with friends, these activities will allow you to relax and rejuvenate. Going into stressful situations with a clearer mind due to self-care will help you immensely.

Join Support Groups

One of the best ways to feel understood during this painful journey that you are a part of is to be among those in a similar situation. Many anticipatory grief groups are offered to those with loved ones in dementia care. 

Sitting in a room with those experiencing the same emotions as you help you to be validated in your feelings. Many describe the experience as having a weight lifted off their shoulders after talking with others. 

Stay Present

It can be challenging for those in an upsetting situation to stay in the here and now instead of reminiscing or thinking about the future. However, it is essential to continually bring yourself back to the present state to avoid undue stress to your emotions.

When you remain in a current place, you can eliminate extra stressors and focus on the topics and issues at hand. Having a range of emotions going through your head when faced with daily decision-making and life activities can make things more complex than need be.

Turn On the Tunes

When you find yourself stuck in an emotional state and you can’t seem to shake it, turning on some high-energy music and singing or dancing around can transform your spirits. Sometimes the switch to a different environment can be exactly what you need to get out of a funk and go on with your day. 

Get Out Of The House

In the same vein as switching to a different environment through high-energy music, sometimes the key to a new emotional perspective is to get out of the house and do something fun. Whether this is an excursion to Target, a trip to the movie theater, or a walk in the park, the action of entering a new space can be the key to resetting your emotions. 


When you are enduring the emotional strain of a loved one’s dementia diagnosis, it is vital that you not ignore your emotions. Taking care of the anticipatory grief you face will help you be a better support person to your family member. 
If you need Memory Care for someone in your life, contact us at one of our Vibrant Life Senior Living locations today.