I found helpful insights from The Alzheimer's Association. Many insights apply to me now, many will later and many for care givers who read this blog. I am thinking of a wife and two daughters who read this blog and are dealing with Alzheimer's for their loved ones.
Symptoms of Caregiver Stress include denial, anger, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration and health problems.
- Anger. I have come to not get angry about being asked something again and again. Originally I was angry about my husband not picking up on tasks around the home. Yesterday my sweet husband on his day off cleaned the living room carpet. I didn't ask him to do this, but he knows to contribute and often tells me how he appreciates all I do for him and our dog Ziggy.
- Social Withdrawal. I need people and so this is not a symptom of my stress yet. However, I have noticed that my husband didn't want to go to the neighborhood Christmas party and doesn't want to take road trips out of town now. This can become a problem for me. Thank God for this blog. I do need you all to make comments and post.
- Health Problems. Once again I need exercise and a slow diet to lose weight so I don't get major health problems myself.
Ways to Reduce Caregiver Stress from Alzheimer's Association
- Know what resources are available in your community.
- Become educated about Alzheimer's disease and caregiving techniques.
- Get help from family, friends, and community resources.
- Manage your own level of stress. I say simplify, organize.
- Accept changes as they occur. Last night my husband and I saw "On Golden Pond". We discussed how actors Fonda and Hepburn were handling old age. How poignant it was when Fonda says he went a certain distance from their rustic home and then didn't know how to get into town. Hepburn sweetly accepted this. My husband has trouble with directions now. We have also seen and discussed the movie "The Notebook". Now, granted, sometimes my husband doesn't remember the movies, but I believe honestly discussing movies help us as a couple to deal with his dementia. It helps me accept.
- Engage in legal and financial planning.
- Be realistic about what you can do.
- Give yourself credit for what you have accomplished; don't feel guilty if you lose patience or can't do everything on your own.
Just a footnote from me: Dogs and husbands with memory issues live in the moment. They enjoy each moment and don't worry about the future or the past. Great lesson for us all. Thank you Lord for my daily blessings--for now--for this very moment!