Guest Post from Mike Good at Together in This
As Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia progress, the amount of assistance the person needs increases. Sometimes this need for help is anticipated and other times it’s a crisis. Either way, being a caregiver it not a planned part of an adult child’s life.
Something is considered to be convenient when it’s easy to do, easy to get to, and doesn’t impact our own schedule. Unless you live with the person and their needs are minimal, caregiving will probably never be considered convenient. It can be manageable, however, with the right systems in place and an acceptance of your unique caregiving role.
But it’ll never be completely convenient, and therefore, some part of the caregiver’s strain will be the inconvenience of caring for another person. The level of perceived inconvenience and how if affects one’s life varies from person to person. It has a lot to do with the caregiver’s own life, their proximity to the person needing care, and their ability to deal with constant change.
Identify and Reduce
Each person must assess and address the inconveniences that are causing them the most strain (stress + burden). Once identified, strategies should be implemented to reduce this strain so that the inconvenience can be minimized resulting in a healthier relationship.
Sometimes this involves asking another person to help, rescheduling a conflicting event, or co-locating with your loved one. Becoming roommates with an aging parent is one of the most common interventions. This is because it makes it more convenient to look after the person with dementia.
This solution, however, will come with a whole new set of challenges – some of which will create new inconveniences. For instance, instead of having to drive to Mom’s house, you may now have to share a bathroom with her.
With Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, coping mechanisms must be routinely adapted to meet the declining abilities of a loved one. Essentially, no solution will last forever and eventually a new challenge will pop up.
Planning & Support are Key
While you can’t make caring for a loved one convenient all of the time, you can reduce the amount of associated strain with some planning.
Start by creating a daily care plan. This plan will help you evaluate your situation, assess the person’s needs, and identify a person responsible for fulfilling each need. Initially, most caregivers find their name listed next to all needs, and this a primary reason for their elevated strain.
Creating a care plan takes work and commitment but is essential to ensuring caregiver well-being. This planning will also pay off by reducing the amount of inconvenience you’re experiencing. You may even find happiness as a caregiver.
Start today by identifying your top inconvenience and finding a creative way to reduce or eliminate it.
What inconveniences have you experienced and what have you done to reduce them?
About the Author: Mike Good is founder of Together in This an online resource helping family members caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. Through short, informative articles and easy-to-use tools, such as the Introductory Guide to Alzheimer’s, he helps them take control and have peace-of-mind they are doing the right things.