Finding the Motivation to Avoid the ‘Caregiving Slump’

Ray Burow avatar

by Ray Burow |

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Life doesn’t come to a screeching halt while you care for a person who has Alzheimer’s disease. Time marches on for familial caregivers.

There is a certain fluidity to life. We want to go with the flow, but it is difficult as we swim against the current. Events and special occasions sweep by. One day we’ll get back to the distractions that make life interesting, but for now, we’ll stick to the mundane tasks of life. That’s the rut of caregiving.

A better alternative

Avoiding the snare of a caregiving slump is easier said than done. We relegate both happy and sad events to a back burner, choosing to address the mundane and demanding responsibilities. It’s understandable, but should be a last resort for a caregiver as well as for the person with Alzheimer’s.

Sidestepping life becomes the norm, rather than the exception. But there’s a better alternative. Before Alzheimer’s disease reaches a debilitating climax, allow your loved one to keep experiencing life. Get out and about when you can, before the disease steals the ability to express appropriate responses to outside stimuli.

Pursuing life

In the early days of my mother’s disease, there were graduation parties, weddings, and funerals to attend. These are the events of which life is made, and my mother was still able to take part in most of them. But for me, the activities were nerve-wracking. I was often on pins and needles. What if she made the same faux pas while we were out that she sometimes made at home? I feared judging eyes, and I didn’t want her to be embarrassed. Truthfully, I also wished to avoid embarrassment for myself and her grandchildren. But life beckoned and we kept going.

Looking back, I wish we’d done more going. I remember several times when Mom mentioned that she would like to see a movie or go out for a bite to eat. On those days when I didn’t feel like being constantly on alert, it was easier to not make it happen. I would wait a minute or two, and she’d forget she’d made the request. I wish I hadn’t done that.

Life’s goal

We did have some fun times, though. For a long while, Mom was able to go to church and attend her grandchildren’s basketball and football games. Every time a ball would swish through the basket or sail through the goal post, she would ask, “Now what’s the score?” Every time! She couldn’t remember from one goal to the next, but she wanted to keep up with the game.

Though worrisome then, today it makes me chuckle. “Now what’s the score?”

Oh, how I miss her.

When my kids were young, older parents would admonish me to enjoy those days because time rushes by quickly. As you care for an aged parent, spouse, or friend with dementia, consider this advice. As long as you remain able, with strength in your bones and breath in your lungs, take them with you and run at life.

Cognitively speaking, the time you’re allotted to spend together is fleeting.

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Note: Alzheimer’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Alzheimer’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Comments

Liam O'Reilly avatar

Liam O'Reilly

With an aging population, the next decades will be crucial for caregiving to those with dementia and alzheimer's disease.
In rural areas the distance to nursing care facilities for patients separates them from their families. The number of Medicaid patients is forcing many facilitys to close. No cure or drug has been found for this disease.
More Federal Government control is not the answer.

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Ray Burow avatar

Ray Burow

The contribution of familial caregivers is the focus. Certainly, they are making huge sacrifices. Their caregiving efforts are also saving our country millions of dollars in paid care. However, as caregivers age out of the role, the landscape will change. Government intervention may not be the answer, but the circumstances will surely affect the country in profound ways.

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