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Frustration and coping tools
Good morning and Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there!
My husband and I brought my dad to live with us over 3 years ago. He has moderate dementia, along with other health issues. He has hearing loss and word recognition problems on top of it. He obsesses a lot, especially over numbers (his weight, the calendar, etc) and of late has developed some anxieties (which will be addressed at doctor visit this week). We help him stay on a daily schedule, and have an aide come in during the weekdays so that I can continue to work.
I would like to hear how others deal with the frustration aspect of being a caregiver. I have read up a lot on alzheimers/dementia and most of the time I can roll with whatever is coming my way (accepting the repetitions, saying yes and putting positive spins on responses, being creative, etc), but there are many times I get "caught in the vortex", as my husband and I call it, and I am the one ending up agitated by it. While I am learning to walk away, not engage, breathe, take breaks, and/or change topics, I'm curious to hear what others do to cope.
Support group and/or therapist. It helps to talk to someone outside the family. Support groups (run by a social worker often) are understanding. Some therapists get it and some don't.
I do Tai Chi and one art class a week. No magic but it helps.
Do you have outside assistance coming in at all? Getting an aide to come in for a few hours might help.
Welcome to our world shw. I'm so glad you found our site.
Support grpups ad counselling are great. Be sure you see a counsellor who is knowledgeable about dementia. your local Alz. Assoc. office should have some referrals.
Do watch Teepa Snow videos. There are lots.n From your library ask for a book by Feil with the word Validation in the title. It's not an easy read, but well worth using her Method.
And do get respite for yourself. Sometimes opting for a weekend or week in respite care gives you a chance to relax and also help you decide if this would be a good place for the future.
and good enough is good enough...shelter, warm dry home, food, water, that if mom had a day at home watching tv and "reading" and painting, that's actually not a bad way to spend her day, and its good enough (she lives with us as well)
And if I get frustrated and snap at her, I apologize and move on, and remember that I matter too, that I am not a robot, and doing what I can is all I can do...
for instance, I am visting my daughter, and mom will be home with my other daughter for four days, mom won't leave house with anyone but me, well that's fine, she is sheltered, and if she is bored, can't help that, if she sleeps alot, that's okay too, its good enough
I literally have to schedule "me" time- whatever it is. Last night I decided I was going to turn off the ringer on my phone, not answer any emails for the rest of the evening (I get so many, all the time for work), make myself dinner and catch up on some TV shows. Sounds basic, but it helps.
Also in general, hiking or walking on the beach, yoga and self care (little things like taking an hour to give myself a manicure).
Being real with my friends really helps. I had kept this all bottled up inside until a few months ago and then I finally shared with my friends . . . and guess what, at least two of them are in similar sitations as me, and are as tired/stressed/frustrated as me.
One every month or so I try to find a new hiking place and take my dog.
Thank you for that - have to remember that I can only do so much. We aim to keep him as safe as possible, and do our best with keeping him engaged.
The delusions have been getting worse, especially mornings and evenings. I may need to figure out some additional morning support so that I can get to work on time and still have time to "talk him off the ledge"... so sad.
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