Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Dealing With Caregiver Stress

Graphic from Vitacost
I am on a campaign to deal with stress in my life. I need margin for things that come up. I need to cope with duties like emptying urinals, preparing and removing false teeth, pretending that I am not asked the same question repeatedly and dealing with the anger of sundowners. Patience, Carol, it's called patience.

When Sally and I went to the Alzheimer's Association Support Group recently. Sally shared wonderful advice for our care receivers that say anything contrary to what is correct. Just say,

"Sweetheart, that could be true!"

Works like a charm.  I've tried it. Gives you something to say. 

At the support group we received the Associations's pamphlet, "Take Care of Yourself: 10 Ways to be a Healthier Caregiver". The pamphlet gives ten things to watch out for: denial, anger, social withdrawal, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, sleeplessness, irritability, lack of concentration and health problems.

 So I thought I would reflect on these ten ways. 
  1. Understand what's happening as early as possible. It is common knowledge that the shower for the Alzheimer's patient is a struggle.  I have interviewed caregivers on this blog for my own preparation for this journey,. 
  2. Know what community resources are available. The Alzheimer's Association has much help available. 
  3. Become an educated caregiver. We will have stress, so deal with it and learn all you can about the disease. 
  4. Get help. Look around my house and I feel so hypocritical because I have been blogging about the book The House That Cleans Itself. It hasn't been working for me lately. The rooms that were finished were somehow trashed again because I didn't work at it. I am still enslaved with the endless de-cluttering.  Encouragement of help from Kenny, Margaret and Pharis. Margaret, Kenny's mom who is a few years younger than myself, sees all I have on my plate. Kenny brought over a DVD for me to watch. Novel idea--sit down to watch something! Margaret who comes over to help with DH's pills or lunch when Kenny cannot, decided that helping with cleaning would help my stress level and I worked with her to do that one day. I look around and the house is better and I am encouraged to keep it up It was actually fun. She helped me get rid of clothes I didn't really need to clutter my my closets--huge relief--something I had not gotten to in the bedrooms. We are not done with the clothes, but there is a start. And there is help for the outside gardens and the roof with Pharis and his teenagers coming over next Saturday.
  5. Take care of yourself. It was a treat to have lunch with Sally this week while our husbands were at Plant City Senior Center for the middle part of the day.  
  6. Manage your level of stress. Right now medical bills I haven't had time to research are on my plate--some Preferred Care should have paid. Can you believe they think my husband fell in the house and that the homeowner's insurance should pay!!! We may change to another plan. Got to think medical bills through--pay a little on each. I know where they are--just for some reason haven't gotten to them. The denial of stress I guess. 
  7. Accept changes as they occur. My husband's trouble walking has been hard for me, but fortunately the chiropractor is helping him. 
  8. Make legal and financial plans. Did that early. 
  9. Give yourself credit, not guilt. Actually I want to thank my LORD for sustaining me and forgiving me. 
  10. Visit your doctor regularly. I saw my doctor on Tuesday. She gave me a prescription for the lowest dosage of Paxil, an anti-depressant, should I need to take it. I am getting it filled should I need it and some days I do feel I need it. I took it years ago when I was a widow and it helped me over hard times. 
The decision to not take ANY long-term substitute position is related to stress. I need to keep life simple.  I really think that life is a bear many days, and not just for ordinary living stress, but also perhaps it is because of my husband's Alzheimer's that it's hard to cope lately.

Yes,  I am so fortunate to have help. But there are no guarantees in this life and my future in heaven is secure and longed for.


  1. In a few short hours many people--more than usual--have read this post. I also just read Apparently stress will be my norm from now on. LORD, I am standing in the need of prayer. Even my husband notices how down I am.

  2. Hello, it was confirmed today by my husbands neurologist that he has Alzheimer's. I needed to read a fellow Christians perspective, thank you for your blob.

    1. Dear Hope494,
      So glad you stopped by. I am almost five years into our diagnosis and it's great that my blog can be there for you as others have been there for me. I just got up to prepare for my day ahead substituting in high school today. I am put on Michael Card's "Joy in the Journey" from my iTunes music. Then Mitch Miller's song, "Side by Side" just came up. Hope, we WILL find some joy in this journey and this blog will be by your side. I try to bathe my days in Scripture that speaks to me also. Going to Scripture now.
      Hugs and prayers,

  3. I think you are so wise because you recognize the need to care for yourself physically, spiritually and mentally. I'm so thankful to read that you are meditating on Scripture my friend. I know that God will meet your needs and will guide you as you set your eyes on Him. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  4. I think with everything in your life, keeping it simple sounds brilliant. xoxo Mar

    1. Thanks, Marianne. Trying to simplify everything so that I can work on the counseling dissertation on caregiving and my own caregiving of my husband.