Here's a non-dementia story about the insidious of illness: Many years ago, when I was caring for my parents at their home in Connecticut, my husband, who always helped me with these activities, wasn't his usual buoyant self. We decided he was coming down with a cold and, because we had many things to do, ignored his paleness, fatigue, and unusual irritability.
After returning home, he made an appointment with his doctor. Diagnosis: congestive heart failure! My husband—usually the picture of health—had contracted a virus that had attacked his heart and landed him repeatedly in the hospital. Thankfully, between a combination of outstanding medical care and his generally good health, he recovered completely. We were lucky. This frightening experience taught us something we hadn't stopped to think about: aging immune systems, even relatively healthy ones, are vulnerable; we've since become more respectful of the signals our bodies give us when they aren't well. Okay, you're saying, what does that mean for caregivers?
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This February marks two years since my Mom's passing. Initially, I felt relieved knowing she'd moved on, beyond Alzheimer's reach. The first year without her I found I couldn't stop thinking about her decline. That I missed her and not the stress of the disease came as no surprise. That I was unable to recall our times together during her pre-Alzheimer's decades distressed me in a way I hadn't expected. Now, a week and a day shy of her passing, the intensity of those disturbing images has finally faded. Every day, memories of her as the strong, vibrant, family-loving heart of our family return. Thank you for allowing me to share the lessons her struggles and triumphs taught our family. Always ready to offer a helping hand, Mom would be happy to know she continues to do just that.
Co-Occurring Symptoms May Look Like Alzheimer's but...
Don't Get Caught Unaware
MARK YOU CALENDARS--UPCOMING EVENT:
TOGETHER WITH ALZHEIMER'S: CARE AND SUPPORT FOR THE CAREGIVER
Join us as Torrey Harrison, LCSW discusses, “Caring for the Caregiver.”
7:00-8:00, Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Sacred Heart Parish Center,
326 Main St, Yarmouth, Maine
The Gentle Art of Problem Solving
What to Expect from a Support Group
Being a caregiver is a tough job, one we can do, especially when we have the right support.
As Christopher Robin tells Pooh:
"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."
So are we.
Would it surprise you to learn that persons with Alzheimer's/dementia have needs similar to our own? Don't believe it? Take a look at this list. Which do you find yourself wishing for or working towards?
How did you do? I scored 100% on this list, which means that having all ten of these needs in balance would contribute significantly to my overall sense of well-being. Persons with Alzheimer's/dementia share the same needs. In other words, a decline in cognitive functioning does not reduce our most basic human emotions and needs.
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How to Change Difficult Behavior
Caring for the Caregiver:
Tips for February
Inspired by Pauline Boss,
author of “Loving Someone Who Has Dementia”
1. When overwhelmed, write a list of the things that have to be done. This will help clarify the complexity of the issues that feed your stress. Once you've done this, you can work on managing these issues. Having a management plan will help you cope, which in turn will reduce the stress. (We'll discuss this at length in the March Issue)
2. When working on solutions to problems stay open to all possibilities. Don't confuse being open with acting upon a particular solution. Staying open fuels your creative problem solving abilities, bolsters your confidence, gives you hope, and increases your ability to cope. All of which help you to develop the best plan for the situation.
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The Caregiver's Journey:
Tools, Tips, and Provisions
A guide to assist caregivers,
from novice to seasoned,
in thoughtful, person-centered planning.
Based on twelve years experience as caregiver, advocate, and point-person for her mother's care, award-winning author Catherine Gentile offers a guide to caregiving that is compassionate, candid and practical.
Your Caregiving Journey: Tools, Tips, and Provisions will give you:
Intimate, insightful reflections on the nature of caregiving, its challenges and joys
Descriptions of the many stages of caregiving
Practical tools that promote your loved one's well being and yours
Lists of considerations--legal, medical, financial—and directions on how to break large jobs into doable parts.
A support team: its members and why you need one
Tips on how to prioritize
Management advice on communication, repetitions, and behavior management—yours and your loved one's!
Caregivers: Take care of yourself, too.
Easy-to-read, ebook format: available at: www.catherinegentile.com.
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Together With Alzheimer's.
available for purchase in the SHOP on this website.
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