You Will Be Warmly Touched and Heavenly Inspired
We all start out as infants in this world, depending on someone to nurture, love, and take care of us. We go through the discovery of everything being new, fresh, and exciting. Then the adolescent years come upon us and, as we become young adults, we learn different kinds of lessons about life from the people around us. Time goes on and we get older as do our mothers and fathers.
One day we may find ourselves expected to take care of them. We know that, as we get older, we may lose our sight, hearing, and memory. But nothing can prepare us for what happens when our loved one’s dementia turns into Alzheimer’s. The caretaker inevitably feels lost and alone. Our loved ones are not themselves anymore–at least not the way we remember them. They don’t know who we are and they don’t know who they are.
Some of us listen to what the doctors say and put them in the hands of professionals in a care center for the elderly. But some of us take on the challenge of caring directly for our parents, just as they once took care of us. We’re not sure what is on the road ahead, but we know that we love our parents and want only the best for them.
When it was discovered that my father-in-law was not himself and his mental health was deteriorating we took on the task to care for him. It was hard to deal with the man he had become. We had to remember that he was now a victim of the disease–that this person was not longer really him anymore. It was a greater challenge than we could have imagined, caring for him to his dying day; but it was also rewarding.
Remember you are not alone. Don’t feel that you’ve failed when you’re aggravated, depressed, or angry. These emotions only show that you are human. I discovered “sun-downers” which is when the person is disoriented at dusk, and that was when dad was really not himself. As he was getting into the later stages of Alzheimer’s he was restless and agitated and I started him on resperdol to help try to keep him calm. I used adult day cares for respite time a few hours of the day, just so I could let my mind and body rest. I also ran miles and prayed for strength to get me through this stressful time. Support groups also were very helpful for advice and knowledge from others dealing with this disease. And hospice was wonderful as dad was in the final stages of his Alzheimer’s and helped us get ready for his death.
If you are a caregiver or plan to be one, remember that MOMENTS are important. Hang on to those good moments even when the rest of the day is hard. Respite care is important, because if you don’t take care of your self than how can you take care of your loved one. Support groups are very important so that you can vent, give ideas and get ideas from others. And remember that to the world you are but only one person, but to that one person you may be the world.