Dementia Care and Stress Reduction
When I first started to care for my mother, it took me a while to realize that when a person cares for a person with dementia, their life is not their own.
I had an epipany one day when I felt the demands of others had taken over my world.
I sat down and figured out that between caring for mom, dad, spouse and two kids--when I divided that hour into 60 minute increments--I basically had only 10 minutes each hour for myself.
There is not much you can do in 10 minutes!
I don't know about you, but for me that was my awakening as a dementia caregiver, or as Oprah woud say, my "A-ha moment."
Another "A-ha" moment happened while I was in my car driving home after two hours of convincing mom to go to a day center and then actually trying to get her there. I just sat in the parking lot and cried.
I know what you are thinking... Nataly, you are exaggerating!
Nope, I'm not. I sat in the parking lot and hysterically cried. I cried for my mother, my children, my family and myself.
Alzheimer's care will break you.
When you are dealing with a person who has any form of dementia there is no "me" time. What you get are stolen moments. And even when you get those stolen moments, somehow they get used for someone or something else.
Alzheimer's Care is 24/7. There is no escaping this fact. Even when you are "off" you're "on."
Dissrupted sleep next to a monitor, clutching your phone like a child's blanket, constantly on red alert for the sound of a foot step, fall, or worse--the chime of a door opening.
Time is the only commodity that can't be bought, sold, traded or bartered for. Time is all we have. And as my mom's symptoms of dementia progressed, and through her various stages of demnetia, there were times where I longed for those precious 10 minutes of time.
Sometimes I found them and others I didn't.
I did the only rational thing I could do: I made lists.
When I made lists, for once, it was about me. Okay, mom was in there too. Her needs, my family's needs, my needs (see I'm still last), but that is what happens when you become an Alzheimer's caregiver.
Forget about spring cleaning, I was time cleaning!
I didn't know it back then, but I learned over time that to be an affective caregver, you have to learn to say NO.
Just like our cluttered homes and lives, as a caregiver sometimes we have to sit back and take stock of our lives.
Is it possible that we are too connected that we've lost connections?
Over the next few months I will be sharing tips that you can use to make caregiving easier by time cleaning.
As caregivers we can never have enough time on our hands. Send me your time saving ideas and I'll add them to our list.