Questions & Answers
Caregivers - What is on your mind? What are some of your concerns? successes? Ask a question, share a story Let us find solutions together. Feel free to ask a question using the Ask A Question link above.
Question - Caring for my mom with dementia from Parkinson's has become so physically demanding and emotionally overwhelming. I feel like I am no longer myself. I feel sadness, anger, guilt, and anxiety. I feel like I am always angry at her for what she is doing. How can I manage these feelings better?
I understand that caregiving for your mom with dementia from Parkinson's can be very challenging and overwhelming. It is normal to feel a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, guilt, and anxiety. It is also normal to feel like you are no longer yourself.
Here are some recommendations for coping with these feelings:
Acknowledge your feelings. It's okay to feel a range of emotions, including sadness, anger, guilt, and anxiety. Don't try to bottle them up or pretend that you're not feeling them.
Talk to someone you trust. Talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or support group member can help you process your feelings and get support.
Take care of yourself. Make sure you're getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising regularly. Taking care of yourself will help you better cope with the stress of caregiving.
Set boundaries. It's important to set boundaries with your mom so that you don't overextend yourself. This may mean saying no to requests that you can't handle or taking breaks when you need them.
Remember that you're not alone. There are many other caregivers out there who are going through the same thing. There are support groups and resources available to help you.
It's also important to remember that you're not responsible for your mom's behavior. She has a disease that is affecting her ability to think and behave normally. It's not your fault that she's doing the things she's doing.
If you're feeling angry at your mom, try to focus on the positive aspects of your relationship. Remember the good times that you've had together and try to find ways to connect with her even though she's not the same person she used to be.
Caring for someone with dementia can be a very challenging experience, but it's important to remember that you're not alone. There are many resources available to help you cope with the stress and challenges of caregiving. My new book, Taming the Chaos with Dementia has a full chapter on the Art of Caregiving. The book is now available for preorder at https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538178980/Taming-the-Chaos-of-Dementia-A-Caregiver%27s-Guide-to-Interventions-That-Make-a-Difference,
I know that this is a difficult time for you. Please know that you are not alone. There are many people who care about you and want to help-reach out to them.
Question - My dad has Alzheimer's and lives in a memory care facility out of town. Do you have any suggested activities I can do with him when I visit?
I am sorry to hear about your dad. It can be challenging to visit a loved one with Alzheimer's, but it is vital to stay connected. Here are some suggestions for activities you can do with your dad when you visit:
Talk to him about his life. Ask him about his childhood, his family, and his work. Listen to his stories and share your good memories of him and your family growing up.
Look at old photos together. This can help to trigger memories and create a sense of connection.
Do some activities that he used to enjoy. This could include playing games, watching movies, or listening to music.
Take him for a walk or to the park. Getting some fresh air and exposure to nature, and nature can be beneficial for both of you.
Just sit and be with him. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is simply be there for your loved one. Let them know that you love them and are there for them.
It is important to remember that everyone with Alzheimer's experiences the condition differently. What works for one person may not work for another. It is essential to experiment and find activities that your dad enjoys.
I hope these suggestions help you to create meaningful and enjoyable visits with your dad.
My brother with Alzheimer’s was recently at a rehabilitation center following gallbladder surgery. It was a very bad experience for him and our family. He was treated badly, kept in diapers (he is not incontinent) and kept strapped in a gerichair at the nurse station at night as he tried to get out of bed to use the bathroom. He did not know how to use the “nurse call” He is back home and recovering, but he now hates all caregivers. He won’t let anyone in the house and screams at them. We have had to send the visiting nurse and caregivers away. We have tried reasoning with him and tell him they just want to help, but he insists they are mean, and he is not going with them. We need these caring people to help our family. Do you have any suggestions?
I’m so sorry to hear that your brother had such a negative experience at the rehabilitation center. It’s understandable that he would be reluctant to trust caregivers now.
Here are a few suggestions that you may find helpful:
Have a family member or close friend come with the nurse or caregiver. This person can help to introduce the caregiver as a friend or neighbor to your brother and explain that they are there to visit and they can’t stay long. They will be leaving soon. The caregiver should also bring a gift or food treat to help your brother feel more comfortable.
The caregiver should not wear a uniform. This can make them seem more threatening to your brother.
If treatment is required, it should be done in tandem with the family member. This will help your brother feel more comfortable and safer.
The family should stay the entire time with the caregiver. Include your brother in saying goodbye. This will help to reassure your brother that he is not alone, they have left and that he is safe.
The caregiver should be friendly and personable. They should avoid being too forceful or demanding.
It may take some time for your brother to trust the caregiver, but with patience and understanding, he will eventually come around.