March 14, 2016 Alzheimers
Witnessing a loved one battle Alzheimer’s disease is difficult, and being responsible for that person’s care is more difficult still. For caregivers, part of their job is to support each other by sharing knowledge and experiences. Below are some areas of difficulty that we have observed over the years as we worked with family members who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s:
You may sometimes feel that you are losing your own identity as you care for your loved one. Your own goals and hobbies take a backseat to the ever-present demands of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease. We understand how little time you have to spend on yourself, and how hard it can be to leave your family member behind to get some much-needed time to relax and restore. It’s important to remember that your quality of life matters too!
You may experience “caregiver guilt” when you wonder what more you could possibly do to improve your loved one’s health and memory, even when you are already doing everything you can. Even if you are spending much time and effort to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, there can still be the nagging feeling that something could be improved. We are familiar with the challenges in caring for someone with dementia while accepting that you can’t change their condition.
Many caregivers focus heavily on caring for their loved one at the expense of their own body’s needs. You may feel that you have no time to eat healthy or exercise because of the amount of time you spend planning and caring for your loved one. Back injuries and joint pain often occur from frequently helping someone else stand and walk. You may miss preventative care appointments because of being unable to leave your loved one. Unfortunately, many caregivers eventually fall into ill health themselves, simply because they focus all efforts on caring for someone else.
Family members of those with Alzheimer’s disease often report increased depression and anxiety. Living within difficult circumstances, watching the declining health of your loved one, and possibly the loss of your own identity may contribute to depression. Worrying over finances, your care giving ability and fears of the future can increase anxiety and associated issues such as insomnia. You may feel alone, like you’re the only person shouldering this responsibility and these fears.
While there are many rewarding experiences involved in caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, it is an inherently difficult job and requires the support of others. In order to maintain your own identity as well as your physical and mental health, you need the support of knowledgeable caregivers who can maximize the effectiveness and safety of your own care giving skills while providing you some time to “get away”, even if it’s just to another room. Located in the Dallas Area, Granny NANNIES know how badly family caregivers need support, and are knowledgeable and experienced in Alzheimer’s care. It is our hope that you can care for and maintain a meaningful relationship with your loved one, all while experiencing life to the fullest!