Anyone who has been a caregiver for a person with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia knows that there are times when you simply just can't take it anymore.
It doesn’t mean you love the person less – it just means you don’t feel like you can cope another minute.
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By Marie Marley
+Alzheimer's Reading Room
Here are some things you can select from to do when that happens:
- 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.
- Log on to the Alzheimer’s Reading Room and Ask for Advice from Other Readers: You can pose a question on the Alzheimer’s Reading Room and ask “the collective brain” (as Bob calls it) to give you suggestions. Many highly experienced caregivers frequent this site and they will be happy to help out another caregiver.
- 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 http://www.caremanager.org.
- 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 (1.800.272.3900.)
- 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.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.
- Have a Heart to Heart Conference with Difficult Siblings and/or Other Relatives: Sometimes the stress of dealing with difficult family members or relatives can be more difficult than actually providing care. If you are in this position try having a family conference to clear the air. Family counseling can also help in this regard.
- Talk With a Friend: Finally, making time to talk with a friend about your feelings can be very healthy, especially if that person is also caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. You may want to set up regular times for coffee or outings.
What do you do when you feel like you just can’t take it another moment?
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*Marie Marley, PhD, is the award award winning author of, Come Back Early Today: A Story of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy. You can visit Marie’s website which has a wealth of advice for Alzheimer’s caregivers at ComeBackEarlyToday.
Original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room