Memory Health: Alzheimer's Support Group
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Care for yourself

Care for yourself

Hey folks, hope your post holiday hangover is going well!

I just wanted to take this time to thank all of the caregivers out there. I know this is an all consuming, exhausting, thankless, from the heart, selfless, kind, so many other things... act that no one can truly understand until they've lived it and I want you to know you are truly appreciated. And one more thing. Please don't forget one of the most important people in this equation, YOU! You must take some time for yourself. You cannot do this 24/7 forever. You will eventually become the patient as well and how will that serve you or your loved one? This may also give you more time as a partner/child/etc... rather than a caregiver, a precious commodity.

I know it sounds impossible, I've been there, but you must find a few minutes away, preferably each day, but at least each week to rejuvenate. Your brain needs to refresh, your body needs down time, you need time away. You need time to consider all that has taken place recently, possibly alone, possibly with a trusted confidant. But, please take the time. Your mind and body and your patient will thank you for it, both now and later, when your loved one is gone and you're asking yourself what more your could have done. Those will be some potentially dark times and you will need all the clarity you can get.

That's it, I'm off my soapbox now. Happy New Year!

Randy

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Hey Randy, I am there. I don't have the experience with this that you have but I have a semi-working brain and its telling me that even with all she is doing for me today, my very survival will hang on her being whole tomorrow. So, I do my best to get her out of the house, travel to see people when she can, taking classes and in general, just pushing her to get out and have a life of some kind, one that intersects with other normal people. I remember as my world started turning upside down, and that feeling of elation or at least not being so alone when I learned of others with my plight. It was simply being around others that are my kind of normal...and there is no reason the same doesn't apply to her, am I right?

So even if it causes me stress and problems now, I am pushing them to the back to allow her as much freedom for as long as I am able to do so. Its all I can think of to do.

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Jeff, I think that's something you must do. It's so easy for the caregiver to become so absorbed in the life of the one being cared for that they don't realize how rapidly they are becoming run down, to the point that they won't recover to normal, healthy state even after the patient passes and life somewhat returns to normal.

They can really wreck their own health in a hurry if they don't take a great deal of care. It's a delicate balance.

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Randy; a caregiver gift I gave by accident years ago turned out to be the best thing, I got her a years worth of massages so once a month she can go into this place and come out a few hours later feeling really great, rejuvenated. This might not work for everyone and I know, were the roles reversed it would not work for me but she looks forward to it every month with anticipation. This sort of enforces the "take a little time for yourself on a regular basis" thing.

But yeah, I can totally see how the caregiver is a very finite resource and should be treated as such, not as an inexhaustible one. I do all I can but I know its not enough. And when you can't help much in that direction, the only thing left to you as the patient is to try to somehow present as little burden as is possible, thinking that will lessen the load on the narrow shoulders of your caregiver....

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