Support for families with a family member suffering a cognitive disorder


Dr Ryoko Rokkaku PhD, Department of Nursing, Ibaragi Christian University, 6-11-1 Omika-cho, Hitachi-shi, Ibaraki-ken 319-1295, Japan. Email:


The management of the care giving of a family member with dementia is an important issues these days. In the present article, I discuss the stages families go through on their way to finding out that a family member has a cognitive disorder. Stage I is a stage of bewilderment in which negative care is given. In Stage II, the relatives find out or realize that the person has a cognitive disorder and they try to extricate themselves from the negative care. In Stage III, the family members express hope that the person will recover, whereas in Stage IV they resign themselves to the fact that their loved one has a cognitive disorder and will never recover. The last stage, Stage V, is when the family members try new types of care. The family vacillates between the different stages and, after a long period of time, they accept the fact that the person has a cognitive disorder and finally create an environment in which the patient can live peacefully. It is a long process, and perhaps a very hard one for the family. Each member of the family has his or her own history and role withing the family; this cannot be forgotten and it is very common for family members to be unable to accept the situation. Even still, the family persists. Because they persist, they sometimes become angry; they also lament and ignore the situation. It is important to thoroughly observe the stage at which the family comes to accept the situation and to be mindful of caring for the family.