You’re a caregiver for your mom, dad, or a relative; but sometimes it’s just too much. You love this person, but your nerves are often jangled and you cry easily. Basically you’re exhausted, trying to balance your busy life with the care your loved one needs. And bottom line, you’re human.
Life is full of we should of or why didn’t we—but here you are. And the scenarios of your situation are various—there are just too many to list. But all that matters is how you are handling your particular situation and how you are staying healthy during this challenging time.
I wrote about my mother last May, http://boomerhighway.org/the-grass-is-slowly-growing-my-mother-is-slowly/ how her senior facility and I decided to put her on hospice. This has been a good decision. Hospice provides not only an RN to assess her health, an aid to come and push her outside in her wheelchair, but also a chaplain to pray with her. My mother’s mental state improved slightly when an anti-anxiety drug was discontinued. But if your loved one has Alzheimer’s or dementia you know it’s a disease that progresses slowly. And even though good blood flow might allow a connection in the morning, that afternoon your mother might not be able to utter a word. For me, phone calls are rare now. Sometimes my well-read and intelligent mother can connect with a few words that make sense to me. Sadly, that’s it.
I am also immersed with helping my husband http://boomerhighway.org/how-virtual-friendships-save-lives/ as he enters a clinical trial for leukemia.
As a daughter, wife, and nurse I really don’t question the roles I need to play right now. I can’t. I give as much as I can every day and thanks to the loving and cogent advice of my daughter Christie, I often repeat the words of Christian mystic Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
Because my mother wouldn’t move near me, I handle all business issues, communicate with her facility and hospice on all aspects of her physical care and talk frequently with the loving caregiver that sees her on a regular basis.
When I hear a song, book or film that my mother loved or look at photos of her, I often break down. This is the prolonged mourning that we must experience when someone we dearly love is dying from dementia or Alzheimer’s.
To help you, here are a few suggestions for how I deal with caregiver burnout:
- Spend time in your cave: whatever that means, go off by yourself and read, write down your thoughts, listen to music, or just sleep. Make that time all about you.
- Get a check-up: see your doctor and discuss the stress you are under, making sure you are not neglecting your own health.
- Talk frequently to someone who gets you: sometimes it’s hard to find a soul mate who truly understands your particular stress and allows you to pour out your feelings of frustration and possibly anger, which you need to do.
- Set up a schedule: if you are working full or part time and have various duties you perform as a caregiver, try to establish a routine. Routines can be calming.
- Try to be prepared: this is the other side of routine as one of the major negatives of caregiving is the unexpected. The unexpected is part of caring for someone gravely ill or dying. Deal with wills, trusts, funeral arrangements etc NOW!
And here is a suggestion: You might know television personality and philanthropist, Leeza Gibbons. Leeza and http://www.caring.com/ invite you to Conversations in Caregiving, a webcast to be held on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 8:00 PM EST.
The link to sign up for this conversation is below. It also lets you enter a question for the presenters if you choose to.
More about Leeza: In 2002 she started The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation after her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The foundation is Leeza’s promise to “tell my mother’s story and make it count.” Facing her own caregiving challenges, Leeza reached out to others in 2003 by establishing Leeza’s Place for family caregivers. Leeza’s Place Centers span the country (California, Florida, Illinois) offering a community gathering place and resource center committed to providing free support services, resources and programs for family caregivers as they take care of a loved one with a memory disorder or any chronic and/or progressive illness. Leeza’s Place philosophy: caregivers are best when they are connected to each other, to support services and to their own strength of spirit. Because as caregivers we know, sometimes the stress is just too much.
Photos courtesy of Leesa’s Place and Google Images