by francy Dickinson www.seniorcarewithspirit.com
Dear Francy; I have a teen with CP and a husband with early Alzheimer’s. I wish I could say that I’m giving them all I have, but lately, I’m angry at the way my life is today and I cannot get out of this hole.
Good because trying to be a goodie two shoes in the middle of chaos is pointless. Being tired is one thing, being pulled in fifteen directions at once is another. There are days when you think that going to the bathroom is selfish and days when trying to get out of bed is almost impossible. If you are exhausted, you have to face it and get help, if you have even mild depression that has carried on for more than a couple of weeks, you need help. Let’s talk about some tips for you, the care giver.
- Depression does not mean you have to be all teary eyed and thinking down, down, down. It can mean you are anxious, get upset easily, are disorganized, feel inadequate, short tempered, use your nasty voice too many times a day, get headaches or muscle aches, or need a nap, just to carry on a conversation. Maybe you have not talked to a friend in weeks, dress down on a daily basis, do not do your hair or lipstick or nails. Do you get the picture, are you in there somewhere?
- Before you go to the doctor, write down some of your feelings so you’re able to verbalize at the appointment. Let the doctor know how you are feeling – overwhelmed and need a little help of something light that can give you a lift from stress. This is what he does, he will come up with a med for you to try. I say try, because if it does not work, go back and get another one, there are lots of options. Work with your doctor to find the right one. Also ask him to make it a generic so it is not to expensive for you to take.
- If you need no meds then just make sure you are not doing the old – glass of wine with dinner and one before bed routine. Or the slight use of weed here or there. That is called self-medication and you have to know that it is NOT OK to do to yourself when you are under so much pressure. Go to the doctor and get some meds if you’re in need of relief and stay away from any drinking or drugs that are not prescribed. You need to be well for your own body and your family.
- If you need rest desperatly that means a minimum of two days of doing nothing. It will take at least that long for your body to rest and get your mind back into a state of quiet. So, you have to schedule someone to come into your home and be there for the family, or go to a friend or family member for a long weekend and ask for a room alone to sleep. I know that many times these actions alone seem too much, but you have to force yourself to be well. You need to be the center of strength in order for the wheel to work. So, take time to plan your rest time in the next week and get it done. Then we will go from there.
- Resting is hard to do. The rule is five full hours of sleep heals and regenerates your body and mind. If you get less, you need to nap during the day or evening. If you can not sleep, you can talk to the doctor and get pills to make that happen. But you can not take pills if you need to be on the alert of your husband doing odd things at night. To relieve that worry, get door alarms for the house, they can be very inexpensive and you put them on the top of the door and set them at night and they buzz if he opens your bedroom door or the outside doors. Then you can relax and know you will be alerted and you explain it to your family so they understand to respond to that noise not just ignore it.
- If you work. Then come home from work and start dinner and then while it is cooking you take a nap. You set your alarm for 20-30 minutes and you go into your room and nap and the alarm should be by your side. Now this means you use the slow cooker or the microwave or oven. You can not leave food cooking on top of the stove. But this is a great way to refresh. You may feel groggy after the nap, but that fades fast and you get a resurgence in energy for the rest of your night.
- Before you go to bed each night do a house check and pick up. If your kids are older, they do the same thing. Check the door locks and set the door alarms. Pick up the kitchen and living room area and turn off all the lights. That way when you’re ready for sleep you have a cleaned home around you to rest your mind.
- Twice a week is laundry time. You do wash for you and your husband at the beginning of the week and the family and kitchen at the end of the week. The kids do the folding for their laundry and I would have them do it in the kitchen after dinner. They take turns folding for all of the family laundry and then they distribute it. You then only have your wash to fold and it makes a difference when you share chores.
- Put up a wall calendar in the kitchen and have all the things that are going on -on that calendar. I have one that’s dry erase for three months at a time. I have my husbands Dr. appointments and my dates and the family dates. Each day I ask my husband to read the day and tell me what is happening for today and tomorrow. That way we are both in the loop. Now, many times he forgets the events right after he reads them because he has Alzheimer’s just like your husband. But we are both on the same day and that counts for me. If the day is going to be nuts, I make sure I have a slow cooker going. If the day is going to be over the top, that is the stop by and get burgers day. The rest of the time I plan my dinner and know how much time it will take. Eating well is hard to do when you are tired, but it has to be on the top of your list for all of your family’s health to stay strong.
- Once a week, I do my meds for my husband. I have a great 2tdy/7dy med dispenser and I do it up and have it all behind me each week. If your son takes meds he will have his, too. I have mine with supplements that keep me going. Get one and use it – it will help relieve that pressure of med taking.
- Drop off your husband and your son at some sort of exercise or enjoyment place for one afternoon or morning a week. Your husband can go to the gym and do some walking or to a center that has cards and enjoy being with the guys. If he has friends to play poker, great they often understand his memory is bad but they love him enough to make him a part of their life. Or he can play pool, bowl or do golf. This is where you need to ask his family and friends to help you. You and he need a break. Be strong about this, it means your health! Your son can take a class in karate, art, or swimming…think of things they can do to leave you alone. Then do something for yourself in the time frame!
- Time, you can spend time running around or make a plan and give yourself more YOU time. A plan means you drive around and get all the chores done in one day, not do them each day. It means that you have your husband walk around the grocery store after dinner one night when the store is quiet and you can think and he can push the cart! When you force yourself to look at a day planner before you go to bed at night, your life will be on a more even keel than just facing each day with all the bumps and no caution signs!
- Buy yourself some new clothes for around the house. You need to wear clothes that are comfortable and yet stylish. You do not need to gain 50 pounds in sweats. You need to feel fresh and clean and comfortable, but stylish. Never go out of your morning bathroom without lipstick, it is mental and emotional must. It just says; “I am alive and ready for today!”
- One more tip—-I have so many more. Get a support group, or a hobby group online. You will have such a kick to get all your gal pals on Facebook and just write a little note to them each day. You will see that they’ll do the same and once a day you get to read their lives unfold. No it will not be as fancy as the teens that spend their life online in social sites. But it will be a way for you to reach out and express your good or bad day or tell a joke on yourself or just read about your buds and get a laugh. No long telephone call, no lunch out, but little daily lines of life…can make a huge difference in your inner peace.
I know you’re in the middle of a nasty time. And I’m there with you. I think often that I will get in the car, all on my own, and just drive. I never have figured out where I would drive, but I just know I could just step on the gas and go, go, go. But I don’t; I pick myself up and go at it again. That’s what pioneer women did and we are daughters of those women and in our own ways fighting family health challenges is still in it’s pioneer days.
Blessings on you for all you do- would you go and visit my web site for other ideas and tips for care givers – www.seniorcarewithspirit.com