"As Alzheimer's disease progresses, the need to nurture, love and be loved increases." American Assoc Geriatric Psychiatrists
It isn't hard to imagine that taking care of a loved one as a caregiver can be an emotionally, mentally, and psychically draining responsibility. May caregivers feel depressed and isolated and have more or less put their lives on hold to care for their loved one. Yet time and life are not only passing for the person being taken of, but for the caregiver as well, so it is crucial that caregivers learn to care for themselves and maintain their one physical and emotional health. Making caregiving schedules in advance, like managing medicine times and doses, taking respites from caregiving, and maintaining or rekindling social activities and personal hobbies can be difficult, but will ultimately help caregivers in reminding them of what makes them their own person apart from helping a loved one, and aid them in relieving the stress involved in the tasks they've compassionately and responsibly chosen to undertake.
The article below details the steps a caregiver can take to improve the quality of their caregiving by first improving the quality of their own life.
A survey conducted by the CQC (Care Quality Commission) found that eight of ten people rate choosing to care for an elderly relative as one of the most stressful life experiences, above divorce or separation from a partner, buying a house, or getting married.
Much of the reason for this stress apparently comes from caregivers or loved ones having to sift through lacking or poor information regarding care facilities that they aren't sure that they can fully trust. When dealing with dementia especially, many family members struggle with finding the best and most viable care options, and want to make sure their loved one is protected, nurtured, and treated properly.
New data released by the NFL on Friday suggests that roughly 30% of former players will develop Alzheimer's or some form of dementia over their lifetime; a much higher percentage in comparison to the general population.
This information was calculated with regards to the NFL's ongoing concussion lawsuit, and an actuarial firm commissioned by the players. The analysis projects that an estimated 14% of former NFL players will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, with another 14% likely to develop moderate dementia.
In addition, the data perceived that former players are run twice the risk (compared with the general public) to develop early-onset Alzheimer's, dementia, ALS, or Parkinson's disease.
Caregivers of loved ones suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's often suffer in the face of demanding challenges associated with handling these types of diseases. Many times caregivers are torn between their caregiving responsibilities, as well as obligations in their own professional and personal lives. This may mean a myriad of things; cancelling long-made plans with friends or family to deal with unforeseen emergencies related to their loved one's illness.
The heartbreak and frustration of watching a loved one, often a parent or close family member, slowly deteriorate as a result of Alzheimer's and dementia can lead caregivers to becoming depressed themselves--they feel very alone in dealing with the trials of Alzheimer's and stress from bearing what is often a very heavy burden.
Amy Goyer writes in her article that "Medicine time with my dad has become one of the greatest difficulties, often taking an hour or more as we cajole, distract and sweet-talk him into swallowing pills or liquid medications. He doesn't understand why he should do so." (source)
At the same time, though a loved one with Alzheimer's, in their less lucid moments, may not understand or appreciate what their caregivers do for them or, as the name implies, how much they care for them, it cannot be argued how truly important and pivotal a caregiver's role is in the fragile life of loved one or family member with Alzheimer's; how much they matter, to themselves and those they provide invaluable care for.
Read more at: Dementia Caregivers Especially Stressed