Sep 22, 2012

Alzheimer's Caregiver It is Not Your Fault

It's not your fault...

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Alzheimer's Caregiver It is Not Your Fault
Alzheimer's Caregiving
from a Strong Foundation
I think it is safe to say that I am gaining a good understanding of Alzheimer's caregivers.

So far, I received about 12,000 emails. Add in another 36,000 comments under the articles on the Alzheimer's Reading Room and that equals a lot of information and feedback.

Some, maybe many, Alzheimer's caregivers tend to blame themselves when things go wrong. Or, when the Alzheimer's patient is unhappy. This is a natural human tendency.

But, should they blame themselves?

I wrote many times that Alzheimer's is a sinister disease. It kills the brain of the person suffering from Alzheimer's, and it tries to kill the brain of the Alzheimer's caregiver. Alzheimer's has very long tentacles. Approximately 40 percent of Alzheimer's caregivers suffer from depression.

Life is not easy for an Alzheimer's caregiver under any circumstance. I think we all know things can go horribly wrong at any moment. This alone makes living the life of an Alzheimer's caregiver difficult. Often emotionally gut wrenching.

One issue that many caregivers grapple with is whether or not to "put" an Alzheimer's patient into an assisted living facility or specialized memory care unit. This is often a difficult, hard to make decision.

Let's face it. Most Alzheimer's caregivers don't want to do this. This is the way we are. The burden of ONE.

I get asked often, should I put my mother/father/spouse in an Alzheimer's care facility? Sometimes by reading between the lines I know I am getting asked, can I get your permission to do it?

Yes, you have my permission.

If its the right thing to do, or if its the safest thing to do, or if you just can't care effectively anymore -- Do It. Bottom line, do what is the right and best thing for YOU and for Your loved one.

Now, some Alzheimer's patients go kicking and screaming. They don't like it. This will make you feel guilty. Alzheimer's has long tentacles.

Let's start here. It is not your fault that your loved one has Alzheimer's disease. Not your fault.

Persons suffering from Alzheimer's can't make decisions. Not when they pass a certain point/stage. They can't.

So this leaves it to you, the Alzheimer's caregiver, to make the tough decisions. Yes, all things being equal you would rather someone else do it for you. The burden of being a ONE.

If you have been caring for someone for a while, or a long time, it is not in your nature to "put" them in a care facility. You don't want to do it.

Don't blame yourself its not your fault.

Again, lets reduce it down. If you don't think you can do it. Or, if you don't think you can do it any more then you can't do it anymore. If you don't think you can, you can't.

It takes an enormous amount of desire and willpower to be an Alzheimer's caregiver in the first place. Only the ONEs can do it effectively. Nevertheless, every ONE is made of flesh and blood.

Don't blame yourself.

Someday I might have to put Dotty in some type of care facility. I won't want to do it. However, if I reach that day when I can no longer do it, I'll make the tough decision. If I am doing more bad than good, I'll make the hard decision. If I believe that Dotty would be better off in a care facility, I'll make that decision.

I can tell you right now, I won't like it. It will be difficult for me to handle and accept. It will take me a while to get use to the idea that I am doing the right thing.

But, of this I can assure you.

I won't blame myself.

It is not my fault that Dotty has Alzheimer's.

Well, I don't feel like its her fault either.

There is no one to blame. So why bother playing that game? Why bother feeling guilty?

I am not a doctor or a psychologist. I am an Alzheimer's caregiver. I know what it feels like. I know making any decision can be burdensome.

I also know this -- it is not your fault.

Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 2,680 articles with more than 512,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room