Monday, July 22, 2013

5 Issues That Caregivers May Come Up Against. wrote about 5 things that can sabotage a family caregiver and possible solutions. All are things that you hear people talk about constantly; things that I too came up against. Being an only child, I found it hard sometimes to find someone to take my place with mom -- my boys were teenagers, with one being special needs, so they found it uncomfortable when they would stay and have to POSSIBLY contend with a bathroom issue. They were good with the helping of snacks or the extra hand or arm to move around but the fear was there for personal toileting. Needless to say, I never wandered too far. I had a couple of female friends who could help, but they had their own family issues.

Anyway - back to the story. Here are the 5 issues that 'can sabotage family caregivers':

1 - lack of privacy: there is mental and physical privacy. There should be spots to go to for personal time and time for the rest of the immediate family outside of the person/parent you are taking care of. This may be hard to do if the parent/person is living with you. Also if this person has dementia or Alzheimer's, there are times when the loved one may do inappropriate things due to the his/her mental status, disinhibition. Possible solutions?? If possible, the live-in person may be able to have his/her own space to sleep, watch TV, or make household rules for using TVs, radios, the kitchen, etc. Make sure you make time for your own immediate family (the parent or whoever does not always come first) and make sure you still take vacation time - use respite care or other relatives to share in the caretaking. If there is a problem with disinhibition or aggression, use locks or check with the physician to discuss medications or ways to help with these issues. Depending on how serious these become and the safety of the rest of the family, you may need to consider placement.
2 - sleep deprivation: for the live-in elderly family member or the caregiver, this can be hard on everyone's mental and physical health. The elder whose sleep issues are addressed will experience better mood, more energy, and less pain; sleep is closely connected with all three conditions. And the caregiver who makes his or her own sleep a priority will be better able to cope with caregiving stresses and will have more energy for every part of life. Possible Solutions?? No stimulating beverages, electronics, have a dark and quiet room with a bed. Check medications with a doctor. While a mixed-up sleep cycle is NOT normal for aging, it may be an issue with dementia.
3 - the lone soldier syndrome: a lot of people feel like they are on their own, without a way to 'vent' or be themselves. Possible solutions?? Needing other people to help is NOT a sign of weakness - ask!!Join a caregivers group either through a local organization or online. See a counselor if you find yourself depressed. Finally - again - find ways to get time for yourself on a regular basis.
4 - not anticipating what is coming next: you need to step back and see the big picture and not just handling issues as they come uup. Possible solutions?? Make contingency plans - if this happens, then that should happen. Make a list of people or organizations to contact if you need an answer. Talk to your parent's doctor about their condition and what may happen down the
road; ask others who done the same thing. If there is dementia, check program for advice. Consider a support group.
5 - overwhelming care tasks: heavy lifting, incontinence, and wandering take their toll. Possible Solutions?? Check with your parent's doctor for possible help with incontinence. Find locks, alarms or ways to reduce anxiety for wandering. Get help in the home and brainstorm with others for ways to solve your issues. Don't feel guilty if you are thinking about placement out of the home.

Think about your issues and I hope that some or all of the above can help or lead you to help.

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Walk softly when you’re angry
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Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
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Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
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Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
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