Since dementia effects every individual differently, it is hard to predict what the future will be like for your loved one. All we really know is that this disease will progress over time. Here, at the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center, we often hear, “There was so much I didn’t know, so much I wish someone with more experience could have told me.”
Here are the five things no one ever told you about being a caregiver:
1. You will have to make difficult decisions
You don’t realize it at first but eventually you will need to make some hard choices. There are a slew of medical, financial and quality of life decisions that need to be made. Sometimes you and your loved one will be at odds with a decision. Sometimes you will be unable to sway your loved one towards a decision that you know is best for them, causing frustration and resentment.
A solution to this problem is to have those tough conversations while your loved one is still in the early stages of the disease. Determine what your options are and agree to a plan of action.
2.Being a caregiver to a senior is nothing like having another child
Elderly parents can have adult conversations, unlike children, and have adult feelings. If you simply went about your day without engaging your loved one – they would feel neglected and ignored. They require care, but a totally different type of care – managing medications, arranging doctor’s visits, convincing them to wear a hearing aid and helping them maneuver around the house.
3. Caregiving will be uncomfortable
There will be moments when caregiving will make you want to cringe – moments related to a loss of modesty and difficulty with bodily functions. Changing roles and responsibilities can be uncomfortable also.
4. Your relationships will be strained
Caregiving is often a thankless job and the effects of that can cause a serious strain on all your relationships. You may become frustrated or resentful of family members who have no idea what you’re going through. Some of your friends may not be able to relate to your new caregiving role and as a result they may start to lose touch with you.
A solution to this problem would be to immediately join a support group and start to build a support network of friends and peers around your family.
5. You will need a break
Being a full time caregiver is at times difficult and stressful, especially when you add kids and the rest of life’s demands into the mix. Caregivers need to consider respite services much earlier than they think they will need them. Respite is most helpful to caregivers if they use it before they become exhausted, isolated, and overwhelmed by their responsibilities. You may believe that you should be able to “do it all”. Seeking help does not make you a failure. It’s important to remember that respite services benefit the person with dementia as well as the caregiver!
To contact the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center for more information
Please call (877) 760-9199. We are here to help you! Thanks for watching today’s Wednesday Workshop and we’ll see you next week!