So, let’s talk about the challenging journey of grief and dementia with today’s guest, Niesia Garza…

Before we begin today’s episode, let me ask you for a quick favor…

Imagine yourself as an artist with an amazing and delicate base…with beautiful patterns and vibrant colors, each representing the memories and experiences of your loved one…

Now, continue to imagine that same base, but through time, see it starting to develop tiny cracks…the once vibrant colors and beautiful patterns now starting to fade away…

Did you do it? If yes, how did it make you feel?

Did it cause you emotional pain? Confusion? How about being anxious? Did it scare you?

Because that experience, in essence, is equivalent to the one that your loved ones undergo while dealing with dementia. More importantly, it's the experience of the family members who have to provide care to their loved ones whose deterioration of brain functions has already begun.

Yes, dementia doesn't just affect the person suffering from it, but also those around them. It is a debilitating experience that's as painful for the family members as it is for the patient.

Fortunately, we have America’s favorite Grief Counselor here with us today to help us navigate through the challenging journey of dealing with a family member who no longer remembers you or your name.  

Niesia Garza, a licensed clinical social worker and registered play therapist, is the Founder and CEO of Daniel’s Harbor Therapy Center. Inspired by and in honor of her late son, whom she lost at two, it aims to be a beacon of compassion and support to those journeying through traumatic grief. She and her team are devoted to increasing empathy and understanding in a world where finding a safe space to grieve is rare.  

Join me in taking a moment to pause and reflect as we gain valuable insights from our esteemed guest.


Why you need to check this episode:

  • Understand the changes that happen to people with dementia, and why you should not take their words and actions personally;
  • Recognize the importance of self-care and protecting your mental health when dealing with the challenge of taking care of a demented loved one; and
  • Discover how crucial it is for you to allow yourself to feel, to acknowledge your feelings, and learn how to walk with your grief

“You got to feel. You got to sit with those feelings. You got to [learn] to walk with your grief. Because again, there’s no [such thing as] time heals all wounds. There is no time. You’re learning to walk. There’s no destination with grief; there’s no healing. You’re learning to live without that loved one.” – Niesia Garza

Topics Covered:

00:00 – On today’s episode: Talking about grief and dementia as we welcome today’s guest, Niesia Garza

01:14 – FYI: Get to know Niesia Garza as she introduces herself and the work that she does

02:23 – Touching on intentionality: What experiences do family members commonly go through when dealing with a loved one who has dementia?

08:08 – A message from Niesia to YOU: “Your feelings are valid, BUT…”

12:06 – Practice self-care: The problem of lacking acknowledgment and being in-denial when dealing with dementia

14:09 – There’s no right or wrong way to grieve: The changes that happen to demented people – a painful reality family members have to face, and the importance of taking care of your mental health throughout the experience

20:25 – What to do: “You got to feel. You got to sit with those feelings. You got to [learn] to walk with your grief…”

25:41 – Disclaimer: This discussion is not meant to downplay those with dementia!

28:11 – Connect with Niesia Garza

Quotes:

“Their feelings are valid, but [do] not take it out on that loved one because that loved one is not doing it intentionally.” – Niesia Garza

“Feel your feelings, journal whatever it is, [and] don’t suppress them; because the more we suppress, they’re going to eventually come out one way or the other.” – Niesia Garza

“You have to protect your mental health… That’s okay; it’s not a bad thing. [You’re] grieving, and everybody grieves differently. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve.” – Niesia Garza

Watch our previous episode with Niesia Garza here:

Connect with Niesia Garza:

Let’s Connect:  

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