Apr 1, 2011

Alzheimer's Caregiver Robert, and the Person in the Mirror

Control what you can. Try to accomplish change. Accept what you can't change. Look in the mirror...

Mirror Mirror on the wall | Alzheimer's Reading Room

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Anxiety. Constant worry. Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's caregiving. Whew.

What a package.

Worse, many people believe Alzheimer's caregiving is like taking care of a child. Not exactly.

Few people understand what it is like to care for someone living with Alzheimer's disease. Its one of those things, you can't know until you deal first hand with an Alzheimer's or dementia first hand.

Anxiety. There are many layers of anxiety that come with caregiving. Taking care of someone with Alzheimer's is an anxiety filled, often lonely life.

Along with anxiety comes the wondering. Wondering. Wondering Why?

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Like wondering why people that you have known for a long time, maybe your entire life, won't help.

Why won't a son or a daughter help? Why won't good friends help?

Yesterday I put up Robert's question -- Am I asking to much to expect some relief from my wife's only daughter?

Robert is 80 years old. His wife is 74.

Let me start with the simple answer to this question. Yes, Robert you should expect help.

More importantly, Yes Robert, your wife should expect the help of her daughter.

Simple. Its called RESPONSIBILITY. Accepting responsibility.

Robert here is what I would suggest. I would like you to start looking in the mirror every day. Look at yourself. While looking, I want you to think about how you are feeling. Are you angry, frustrated, guilty, feeling abandoned? You decide.

Then I want you to think about what you are accomplishing. You are a good husband. A good person. You didn't run, and you didn't hide. You didn't stick your head in the sand. You are not the guilty party.

If this makes you cry, let it out. Do what I am suggesting every day. Someday, you are going to smile back at yourself. You will smile when you come to this simple understanding -- you are admired and respected. Someday, you'll look at the person in the mirror and you'll see the one person you can count on.

That one person is you.

For the wife's daughter. I have two suggestion.
  • First, get a hard copy of the diagnosis of dementia from the doctor and let her read it.
  • Second, ask the wife's daughter to consider attended a meeting of an Alzheimer's support group.

If she asks why, just tell her so she can get a better idea of what it is like to be an Alzheimer's caregiver.

Robert, don't demand. Suggest.

Robert, you can get all the advice in the world. But, the best advice is always the same for people in this situation.

Take control of your own life.

You cannot control the life of another person. Worse, you cannot let them control you and how you feel.

The best thing you can do is try and lead the horse to water. But, it is up to the horse to drink.

In this case, it is up to the person to take a drink of life. To feel what it is like when a person accepts responsibility. To feel the joy.

Some people live their entire life without drinking. They live a thirsty life. Why? Who knows.

Like my daddy use to say. You make your own bed, and you have to sleep in it.

Control what you can. Try to accomplish change. Accept what you can't change. Look in the mirror.

Sooner or later the person in the mirror will give you the answer to your question.


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The Alzheimer's Reading Room operates for the benefit of society and the Alzheimer's community.

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 5,000 artices. Bob resides in Delray Beach, FL.

Resentment is often caused by a combination of disappointment, anger, and fear.

Cope. To face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties in an effective and calm manner or way.

Anxiety a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Worry is a state of anxiety and uncertainty over the situation we find ourselves in, or, the worry that things our going to get worse and we lack control to do something about them.

Anger is a normal, sometimes healthy, human emotion. However, when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to a deterioration in personal relationships and a reduction in the quality of life.

Loneliness often occurs in Alzheimer's and dementia care because our family and friends abandon us.

Dementia care is the art of looking after and providing for the needs of a person living with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room