Anticipating 2021 When Caregiving Feels Like ‘Groundhog Day’

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by Ray Burow |

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Happy belated New Year!

Can you remember a time when people looked forward so much to the start of a new year? The anticipation has been nearly palpable, as the entire world seems to have adopted the idea that “happiness is 2020 in the rearview mirror.”

Here we are on the other side, and honestly, things don’t look that much different, do they? However, we hold on to the hope that the nation’s political unrest will settle down, and that the unwelcome virus will finally hit the road with the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines.

Real-life ‘Groundhog Day’

Caregivers may not have anticipated that much would change on Jan. 1. For the most part, our challenges stay the same, until they don’t, and we have to face a different set of circumstances and symptoms that plague our loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. The disease slowly unfolds, and with the unfolding, new issues arrive.

A familial caregiver’s experience with Alzheimer’s disease is similar to the film “Groundhog Day,” except it’s not acted out on a soundstage. It’s a real-life scenario, and every caregiver, family member, and patient plays his or her role.

Embrace learning

How are you doing in your role, the part you’ve been assigned to play?

Perhaps for you and your family, the role you’ve been given is new and your loved one has just recently been diagnosed with dementia. Even the thought of it is overwhelming. It always is, but hang in there! I am encouraging you from firsthand experience that you can do this.

Yes, I understand that you don’t even know what you don’t know. Neither did I, and neither do most people who find themselves in a very similar situation to yours. We learned. You will, too.

This is not to say that the road won’t be difficult, but there are many resources at your fingertips. Investigate and use them. The Alzheimer’s Association is the best place to begin.

Learn the mechanics

Regarding the hands-on, everyday work of caregiving, there’s nothing you can’t learn to do, and there’s probably a YouTube video for anything you need to know.

Better yet, corral a friend or family member who works in healthcare for an hour or so. Ask them questions about how to manage certain tasks. Let them teach you the mechanics of caregiving, like how to move a person in bed, how to change bedding while they’re still in bed, how to bathe them, etc.

Once you have the know-how, you won’t feel quite as overwhelmed. Your local library can also provide valuable learning tools.

Though the first month of 2021 looks very similar to December, allow yourself to anticipate what could, in fact, turn out to be a very good year for you and your family.

An Alzheimer’s diagnosis can feel as if your world has come to an end. There’s deep sadness attached to it, but it is not the end. You can and will find joy in the difficult journey, and though comedian Bill Murray will not be the primary character in your “Groundhog Day,” your role will require a sense of humor. Dig deep.

Happy New Year!


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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Alzheimer’s disease.


James Ezold avatar

James Ezold

It is Groundhog Day for the last 4 years! All I read is testing this, testing that. No solutions! Has come to a point as a caregiver for my wife give a us and millions of others a medical solution, some real hope!

Ray Burow avatar

Ray Burow

Mr. Ezold,

I am very sorry for your loss, and it really is a loss that we experience in the face of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Like you, I long for a cure and I do believe it will come. There are strides being made, but when you're stuck in proverbial Groundhog Day, it is terribly difficult to wait with hope. But, there is hope and I pray that you will experience it in the days and weeks ahead as you provide loving care for your wife.

Thank you for being a part of the Alzheimer's News Today community.

Ray Burow


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