When life unravels into Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s important for caregivers to carry survival tools. As I speak in various venues throughout the metro and beyond, I share these survival tools.This week, I had the opportunity of sharing these tips with professionals at the Chem Council in Kansas City.
With 43 million caregivers in the U.S., I hope these tips – from the viewpoint of Reverend G – will offer hope and sanity to caregivers who choose to implement them.
Tip # 1 Talk to Me – it’s easy to ignore someone who has Alzheimer’s. Since they can’t always respond, we sometimes forget they’re even in the room. We need to look at our loved ones, smile, communicate and talk to them
Tip # 2 Don’t Argue with Me – when memory loss or paranoia sets in, it’s easy to get into a debate. But arguing with an Alzheimer’s victim is pointless. Reverend G would remind us to ask questions instead. Questions help our loved ones figure out a solution or completely drop the subject.
Tip # 3 Keep Laughing –laughter helps keep us healthy. Many funny stories are included in “The Unraveling of Reverend G.” I included them on purpose, because we need to somehow find the humor in the situation and keep laughing.
Tip # 4 Remember the Life Story – knowing the life story of the Alzheimer’s patient helps caregivers utilize pet therapy, music and various other ways to connect. One patient used to watch the sun set with his wife, so the caregivers made sure to sit with him each evening and watch the sunset together.
Tip # 5 Take Care of Yourself – 70% of caregivers struggle with clinical depression. 20% will develop a chronic illness and may even die before the Alzheimer’s patient. Stress is a killer. It is vitally important that caregivers take vacations, utilize daycare centers, join support groups or go somewhere and have fun.
Tip # 6 Forgive Me – none of our loved ones planned to get dementia or Alzheimer’s. They hate what the disease does to us, and they never wanted to be a burden to us. Reverend G often tells her son, Jacob, “Please forgive me.”
Tip # 7 Pray – when the 36-hour day blends into the next, pray. When you need extra patience, pray. When you can’t bear watching the symptoms of this horrid disease, pray. Ask God to help your loved one through this disease and to give you the endurance you need. Pray for a cure for Alzheimer’s and medicines to reverse it.
Alzheimer’s and Dementia websites have a plethora of resources, but these seven tips come from the heart of Reverend G and are addressed within the book. In my presentations, I address each of these tips and give personal examples.
Perhaps you’d like to hear me speak about the “7 Tips for Caregivers.” If so, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, keep praying.
©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” http://amzn.to/11QATC1