Navigating through an airport with a family member who has Alzheimer's can be a nail-biting excursion. Unfamiliar surroundings heighten confusion, impair the ability to follow directions and trigger agitation -- none of which you want to experience as you're getting body-scanned by airport security. Here's how to get through it all with as little hassle as possible.
As there will be some special days that make it painful, you can plan ahead. If you have recently lost your father, than make sure you're with supportive individuals on his birthday, or on Father's Day. You will want to surround yourself with people who respect your grieving process. Make sure you accept the love and support of your friends and family members.
Six years ago, my husband Matthew was diagnosed with glioblastoma multiform, the most common and deadliest of brain cancers. As Matthew's primary caregiver, I've come to recognize that coping in the face of a terminal illness is a learned skill, and sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works.
Helping an elderly parent with bathing, can come with some fear or embarrassment for both of you. You want to maintain the person's privacy, dignity and independence as much as possible. It might take longer than it used to for the person to do something for themselves, but the benefits far outweigh the extra time.
As a community nurse I've heard stories from families who, instead of checking items off shopping lists and going to holiday parties, were taking someone to multiple medical appointments. Or, they were worried and asking me how to keep their mom calm and comfortable at the busy family gathering as her dementia was taking hold.
MP Eve Adams was called out for claiming $2,777 in personal expenses during the 2011 campaign, that range from trips to the spa and salon to childcare. It is hard to defend an expense claim such as nail salon visits or a $3 cupcake purchased weeks after election day. But some campaign expenses are fair game. Why wouldn't it be a legitimate campaign expense to provide childcare for a mom-candidate while she is campaigning 12-16 hours a day? Do we want more women in politics or not? These factors have kept women in the "weaker sex" category in politics.
In her weekly column, Natalie answers your questions about caring for a family member or friend who needs extra support -- and caring for yourself as a caregiver. "My daughter is the joy of my life but sometimes I feel incredibly stressed by the daily responsibilities and challenges of her disability. What can I do when I feel like this?"
It is a well-known fact that taking on the role of the primary caregiver for a loved one is often so stressful and draining that it can take a toll on your well-being increasing your risk for chronic stress and depression. But studies have found that caregivers do reap real physical and cognitive rewards.
Dear Caregiver, I am sorry my child lay on the floor today and refused to participate in your class. I also apologize that she further disregarded your implicit instructions pertaining to scheduled activities, not to mention more than once did exactly the opposite of what you requested. Spirited kids are square pegs trying to fit into a round world. They are the ones asking "why" when others are saying "yes." And then some.
Yes, when I write about how a caregiver should take care of him or herself, I am talking to myself as well as to others. I know how hard it is. For two years, I did not leave my husband. Like so many others, I postponed my own doctor's appointments telling myself I didn't have the time, and turning down invitations from friends. But firm words from two doctor friends helped me decide to take the occasional afternoon for myself.
It seems to me that Alzheimer patients have quite a lot to be angry about. It is tempting to take it personally, to be hurt, to even get angry ourselves. But that accomplishes nothing. We know that, in the end, this is a battle that Alzheimer's will win. But the disease doesn't have to win every round. I try to think of myself and my husband as partners in the fight. If I can calm his anger with a hug or a smile or a word of understanding, we have won at least one round.
I have found online support groups to be a tremendous help. I can turn to them any time, in the middle of the night if necessary, skim through the various postings to find the ones that have situations similar to mine. Those postings have provided me with a great learning lifeline. So, I will offer no advice. Each caregiver must find his or her own way. But over the next few postings I will share some things that have worked for me.
Despite the 36 million people afflicted worldwide, there is still something of a stigma about the label. Just as cancer used to be a diagnosis whispered in close family circles so do many think about Alzheimer's. It is the crazy aunt or uncle locked away in the attic. The first reaction to the diagnosis is often, like mine, denial.