I previously talked about the excellent publication from the National Institute on Aging, called Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease: Your Easy-to-Use Guide. You can order copies of the book from the Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center. You can also call them at 1-800-438-4380. The book is free.
At Support For Home, we periodically order quite a few copies, to give to clients and their families and also to some of our Home Care Aides. Even for folks with significant experience with dementia, there is a lot of great information to be gleaned from this 130+ page publication.
We encourage our family partners in care for clients with Alzheimer’s Disease to learn as much as they possibly can, not just for the sake of their loved one, but for their own sake, as well. The role of the family caregiver is the hardest job in the world. The job of the family caregiver for someone with AD or other forms of dementia is the hardest of the hard.
To do that job well and safely, the family caregiver needs to accept help. One of the most poignant and eloquent caregiver quotes from the publication reflects that fact:
I was standing in the grocery store, totally exhausted, trying to decide what I had come for. I looked down at my cart and all I had were diapers for my incontinent mother and for my two-year-old grandson. Diapers were the only thing I could remember. I had asked a neighbor to stay with my mother and Tim because we were out of everything and there I was. I couldn’t remember what I had come for. It was this simple incident that forced me to consider getting help. For almost a year I had been walking around in a semi-trance trying to do everything myself. I had to face the fact that this situation was no longer safe for my mother, for Tim, or for me. E.W.
What we wish that educators and support groups would stress is that family caregivers will get to this point, unless they get help early. So, get help early!
We’ll be talking more about some of the critical points for caring for a person with AD.
Best wishes, Bert