Caregivers and Coping Tips

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Patience is not a virtue, it's survival with Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's behaviour will often test the limits of your patience. The same question asked over and over again. Refusals, excuses, reluctance, testiness, anger, insults can often emerge when things are rushed and not timed just so. As adults, we're used to making accomodations to other adults, letting someone in first on the elevator, opening a door when it looks like someone else is in a rush, etc. In other words, we're always looking out for others, we get used to that, and expect it in return. But those with Alzheimer's are returning to their own world, a world that centers around them. With kids, it was cute -- but with an adult, well...that's where the patience comes in. You'll have to say the same phrase over and over a few times. You'll have to adjust your statement until you find one that gets them to do what they need to do, like change into pjs, take a shower, eat more meat, or maybe get up and move around. You'll have to do things in slow motion, even though a hundred other things are pressing to be done around the house. I don't think any caregiver get's this patience out of virtue, well some good souls might, but most just use patience to survive the day. A person with AZ doesn't mean to be so slow and un-abled, remind yourself it's Alzheimer's and remember they once were able to do it on their own. Now you're here to help.

   

Read for Support - You're Not Alone in Dealing With Alzheimer's

Many advise that caregivers get involved with support groups, seek information, ask for help, etc. But to be honest, that's a dream world. Who has the time to go to a support group, help is tough to find. Very few people are eager to help watch old gramps or grandma.

Instead, I suggest this, take a little time to browse on the net for articles about caregiving. It's a kind of "self" support group. While it might be less satisfying than talking to a real person face-to-face, at least the stories usually are relatable and leave us less isolated.

Here's a good article on the B-generation on the NYT, about mom with Alzheimer's. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/fashion/23genb.html?hpw=&pagewanted=all

Good search terms include Alzheimer's, the Sandwich Generation, old age, and senior care.

   
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Kristle Jones