How Do We Caregivers Keep It Together?
Selflessness in caregiving is a virtuous thing – sounds like a thing you as a caregiver always hear from others, right? It is not nearly enough to sustain us when we ourselves are being selfless and caring for another person, though. Ideally, each of us has experienced it firsthand, probably from our parents since birth. However, there is something I tell my clients over and over again: at some point you have to take care of yourself – if you're not around, you can't be of any use to your loved ones.
It is an ever-balancing equation. When all are in good health, those in that so-called “sandwich generation” can usually keep their lives in balance while being there for everyone else. An Alzheimer's Disease diagnosis is basically guaranteed to throw the equation out of balance. Mom or Dad may have required some care or attention sporadically in the past, such as after an injury or a cold. Now, there is the potential for total role reversal as the parent becomes totally dependent on the child. Here are some tips on how a family or network of loved ones can try to keep it all together:
- Understand what has happened. Let all who love this person now be educated fully regarding this major life change they are undergoing. In a sense, all who love this person will be undergoing it as well. Learn about the symptoms and the ways the disease can be managed.
- Divide responsibilities. First of all, you may be the sole caregiver, but you almost certainly have a support network available whether you realize it or not. Take some time to think about what support you have in your life, and who might be able to help shoulder the burden.
- Take breaks. This may feel like a job, a job with stress like you've never experienced before. That is all the more reason why you need to find actual time for yourself in some form of break. The bottom line is that the most surefire way to fail this job is to render yourself unable to do it.
- Know when to seek assistance & plan ahead. One of your first duties as caretaker should be to plan for what will happen as your loved one needs additional support. You should start to look into professional assistance and long term care if only to know what options are available. Speak to an elder care professional, such as an attorney, with experience in these matters.
Alzheimer's Disease may not be contagious but the effects spread to an entire family. If this sounds like a formidable challenge, that is 100% accurate. That is why you the caregiver must ready yourself before and during the imminent care your loved one will need. If you are not good with change or sharing with others, now might be a good time to do something about that skill, and get professional help to get the puzzle pieces in place.
Archer Law Office Can Help
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