From the desk of Together In This...
From the time we were kids, we’ve been told that we need a well balanced diet to help maintain our health. However, since most of us don’t follow the recommendations, we take a multi-vitamin. In fact, millions of Americans take nutritional supplements like pterostilbene 50mg to improve their health.
Caring for a person with dementia is one of the most challenging situations a person can face. Because there is no consistency, everyday comes with a new set of challenges. The emotional and physical demands pose a significant risk to the caregiver’s health. In fact, “Seventy-four percent of caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias reported that they were “somewhat concerned” to “very concerned” about maintaining their own health since becoming a caregiver”. 1
Since they often find themselves overwhelmed without little to no support, these caregivers struggle to maintain a proper diet, regularly exercise, and take breaks (respite). The best way for them to gain control and move towards a healthier life is to acquire knowledge about their unique caregiving situation.
Reactive not Proactive
Since many caregivers don’t take time to acquire knowledge, they are ill-prepared for the challenges and find themselves reacting and “flying by the seat of their britches”. With no training, they do their best to cope with the disease but this approach consumes their mental and physical capacities. This results in no time for them to proactively develop strategies to deal with the situation.
Knowledge is the supplement that will empower them to make better decisions and bring order to chaos. They will be able to develop strategies which include things such as behavioral-coping mechanisms, planning for the future, and organizing their loved one’s state of affairs.
Caregivers often don’t know where or how to start. They find themselves frantically searching cumbersome websites or asking untrained friends and family for advice.
The easiest way to start is by visiting TogetherInThis.com which provides streamlined information and a Publications Library. From this library, caregiver’s can download specially selected pamphlets for free. If the caregiver can’t find the appropriate pamphlet here, they can visit the National Institute on Aging site which has a larger library – many of which can be mailed directly to their home for free.
Sometimes, there’s just no time to read and that’s were audio files can help. The caregiver can download these files and listen to them while commuting, exercising, etc. Johns Hopkins Medicine features a handful of audio files and Blog Talk Radio has a wide selection of which the caregiver might like to start with these: Alzheimer’s Speaks or Your Caregiving Journal.
If the person is more of a visual-based learner, there’s an abundance of videos that can easily be found through a simple internet search. Youtube is a good place to start and I recommend starting with Sue’s very own Dementia Queen channel.
As previously mentioned, people often turn to family and friends for help. While their support is a needed supplement, they generally don’t have the expertise to provide the proper guidance when caring for someone with dementia. This is why it’s best to gain additional knowledge from others that are also caring for someone with dementia. Their experiences and support are an essential supplement to the educational process. Start by contacting the Alzheimer’s Association who can identify local support groups.
As you can see, there are multiple ways a caregiver can consume their educational multi-vitamin. This supplement is essential to good caregiver health and should be taken on a regular basis.
What resources have you used to educate yourself or other caregivers? Please share your suggestions.
Author: Mike Good, Together In This .com
1 Alzheimer’s Association, 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, pg. 37