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 epiphany 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 kid - when I divided an hour into 10-minute increments, I was left 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 would 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."
Disrupted sleep next to a monitor, clutching your phone like a child's blanket, constantly on red alert for the sound of a footstep, 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 dementia, there were times where I longed for those precious 10 minutes.
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 caregiver, 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.
Every month, we're giving away a free copy of "Alzheimer's Disease and Other Dementias: The Caregiver's Complete Survival Guide" to a new member of our community. Enter to win a copy by entering your email in the "Subscribe" form on this page.