Posts Tagged ‘coping’

What to Do When You Just Can’t Take it Anymore

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Sign up Your Loved One for Day Care: Enrolling your loved one in day care can do wonders to relieve your stress and give you some blessed time for yourself. You may worry that the person will be lost without you, but most people with Alzheimer’s adjust. If you can’t afford this on an ongoing basis, do it at least for a while.

Obtain Around the Clock Respite Care:  Around the clock respite care will give you even more time to yourself. You can have the person stay at a facility or with a friend, relative or neighbor. Again, if you can’t afford ongoing respite care, do it for a short period of time while you recharge your batteries.

Call in a Geriatric Care Manager: Geriatric Care Managers are health and human services specialists who help families caring for older relatives. They are trained and experienced in any of several fields related to care management.  You can read more about them and locate one in your area by going to the profession’s website.

Contact the Alzheimer’s Association: The Alzheimer’s Association website has ample advice for caregivers. It also has a 24/7 helpline manned by trained professionals (1.800.272.39001.800.272.3900.)

Contact the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: This is another helpful resource for burned out caregivers. The Foundation offers counseling and advice Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM (Eastern Time) by phone, Skype, or live chat. You can reach the Foundation at 1.866.AFA.848411.866.AFA.84841.866.AFA.8484866.AFA.8484.

See a Psychotherapist: Nearly all overwhelmed caregivers could benefit from seeing a therapist. Therapists can help you better understand your situation and coach you on how to make time for yourself, as well as gain a better perspective of your caregiving duties. It’s a good idea to get a referral from a friend or relative. A few visits can help, even if you don’t have the funds for long-term therapy.

Visit with Your Pastor: If you regularly attend church, talking with your pastor can be a good substitute for psychotherapy. A pastor can help you with the same things therapists do.








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How I Survived 7 Years as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

How did I cope as a caregiver?  I had no idea how to survive the following years, but little by little I discovered things that helped tremendously:

1.    I Had an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Coach

The Greater Cincinnati Alzheimer’s Association Chapter had a free online coaching service for Alzheimer’s caregivers. I emailed my coach every single day and she responded with thoughtful, empathic emails back to me. It was the first thing I did every morning when I got up, and I looked forward to her answers throughout the day. We developed a close relationship that was extremely helpful to me.

2.    I Kept a Journal

I chronicled my visits to Ed, his gradual decline, my feelings, and my day to day activities. It gave me a way to document my caregiving journey and to remember the positive events as well as air the negative ones.

3.    I Learned How to Get Along With Ed Better

As Ed’s dementia progressed he became extremely difficult to get along with. I was at the end of my rope when I invited a friend to have lunch and discuss the problem. She told me three things she said would help:

–       Don’t bring up topics that might upset Ed

–       If he does get upset, change the subject quickly

–       Don’t argue, correct or contradict him

When I finally mastered these tips, our arguments decreased considerably.

4.    I Took up a Hobby (Photography) About Which I Became Passionate

I became obsessed with my new hobby. I felt compelled to take photos. I would spend hours working on a single photograph. I The best thing about my new hobby was that time stood still when I was doing “a shoot.” It took my mind completely off Ed and his condition.

5.    I Made Peace With Alzheimer’s

One day I realized a profound change had taken place in my heart. I began enjoying my visits to Ed again. I became aware that I had accepted his condition and I had found a way to relate to him. A way that was satisfying for both of us.

Just seeing him smile and hearing him laugh had become more than enough to make up for losing our previous relationship. Our love had endured even despite Alzheimer’s