Caregiver You Are Not Alone: Beth’s Story

Be Careful What You Pray For

Being a caregiver is more difficult than one can imagine until it becomes the focus of your life. For many, it entails a commit of years and no matter how hard you try you are unable to alter the outcome.

During my years as a caregiver for my father-in-law, Rodger. I cried a lot. Sometimes I got angry, often I was weighed down with guilt. Many times I turned to prayer. Did I receive instant answers or did a miracle occur? No. But there were occasions when help appeared when I needed it most. What it took me along time to discover is that it’s very important to be specific in what you pray for. Many people pray for strength when what they really need is assistance. Others may pray for patience when they really need an answer now.

Beth doesn’t realize she is already as string as she will ever need to be and asking for added strength will only add to her burden.

Caregiver You Are Not Alone – Leslie’s Story

When friends or family members question you about the care you are providing it is often because they don’t see what you see, or hear what you hear. They are not losing sleep because your loved one is up all night demanding to go to the bathroom every few minutes. They are not there to witness the tantrums caused by confusion and fear in the one needing care.

When visitors do come, they pull themselves together, holding on to their dignity as hard as they can. It’s exhausting for them and the result is a meltdown once the guests leave. You live with every part of these dreadful diseases.

I suggest is to use your smart phone to record what happens in the explosive moments. When someone questions your truth, share the video with them. It may result in understanding and maybe, an offer of help.

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Caregiver You Are Not Alone – Kelly’s Story

As dementia progresses, the caregiver becomes the memory keeper. When they no longer recognize us, we vividly recall who they were before this devastating disease robbed them of so much.

There is no denying that seeing a blank stare where a welcoming smile once greeted us is one of the most panful moments we face. But, I’m here to remind you that it is not a moment of failure for either of you. When recognized for what it is, a moment of infinite trust, it can be the beginning of acceptance as you enter Stage Five of the Six Stages of Caregiving. the Transitioning Caregiver. It is in this stage we: Release the fear, let others in, and think about what’s next.

To learn about the Six Stages of Caregiving and for information about how to book Bobbi for an online appearance or webinar go to Bobbi’s website: www.BobbiCarducci.com

Caregiver You Are Not Alone – Peter’s Story

Cherish the Moment

Dementia is proof that time travel is real. As short term memory is erased the past comes alive in the dementia brain. A seventy year old man relives the time he was strong and ready to take on the world. A woman with Alzheimer’s is once again a young mother holding her baby in her arms.

It can be very disconcerting for the caregiver and other family members when this happens. It can be devastating for the person living with dementia if we deny their reality. So what is a caregiver to do?

I repeat, Cherish the Moment. Ask him or her how old they are. The answer will give you insight into where their brain has taken them. Then you can engage with them through their memories of that time and place. If you have photos of them at that time, sit with them and listen to the stories they share.

If a woman is frantically looking for her baby, give her a lifelike doll to care for. Men also like holding babies and both men and women often enjoy holding a realistic looking pet.

It cannot be repeated often enough. We must meet them where they are and when we do that they become more calm and need less medication and very often touching moments that will one day be cherished memories are shared.

www.RodgerThat.show the podcast dedicated to guiding you through the heavy haze of dementia, is a weekly podcast for caregivers hosted by Bobbi and Mike Carducci. We hope you will tune in, follow, and review the program.

Please share special moment you had with the person in your care.

Caregiver You Are Not Alone – Ann’s Story

Reality, what is it good for? The brain is a magical, mysterious, and incredibly powerful part of us that influences every aspect of our being. From birth we depend on accepting what the brain tells us is real. What we see, hear, taste, and touch, our understanding of the world around us. The brain is also an inventive story teller.

Consider your dreams and how real they seem to you. Scary, sensual, weird, inspirational, sad, happy, you name it. The dream is our reality. When we waken we realize it was it was merely an illusion. People with dementia can’t make that distinction.

What delusions does the person in your care insist is true that you know are false? How so you react to them?

The dementia brain sends images, thoughts, and sounds to people who are awake. Whatever story the brain is sharing with them becomes their reality. This is why we must enter their world. It is up to us to respond to what their brain is telling them. It is not telling lies. It is not being deceptive. It is recognizing someone’s very real confusion and fear and doing what we can to put them at ease.

As difficult as it is to cope with the unpredictable behavior of someone with dementia, please try to remember, They are giving us a hard time because they are having a hard time. They can’t help it.

Caregiver You Are Not Alone – Kate’s Story

A caregiver near you needs help. When people say, “Let me know if you need help,” when you are new to caregiving, some mean what they say. Others are simply being polite. We accept this and go on with our day.

For caregivers the need for help increases over time. Usually about the time friends and family drift away, busy with their on lives and responsibilities.

Once someone steps up to be the caregiver it’s easy for others to let them do it and assume they are fine. They are not fine. There is always something you can do to help. But. instead of asking the caregiver what that is I suggest you let them know what your going to do and then do it.

Here are a few suggestions: Picking up some groceries when you go to the store. Have teens cut the grass or shovel snow. Cook and deliver a meal once a month. Call for a friendly chat now and the and allow the caregiver to vent without judgment.

Every little bit helps and the caregiver near you will appreciate it. Insert your ideas in the form below. You may inspire someone to do it too.

When Family Doesn’t Help : Charlie’s Story

When someone steps up to be a caregiver, family members may say they will help when needed. Perhaps they are sincere in the moment but all too often the actual care is left to one person. Daily life takes over for those not actively involved and it is assumed the caregiver has everything under control.

That is probably true in the beginning, but as dementia advances and care becomes critical all day and night for months or years the caregiver becomes overwhelmed. Unfortunately this is also the time when too many family members refuse requests for help.

With so many living extraordinarily busy lives it is easy to to keep putting off assisting the caregiver with the promise do it next time. Sadly, next time never comes. Isolation, sleep depravation, and the inability to care for one’s own health take a toll on the caregiver leading to resentment, depression, and in some cases, the death of the caregiver.

Helping need not be difficult or time consuming. Small things can make a big difference:

  • Sit with the person needing care so the caregiver has a few minutes to shower without worry.
  • Provide a meal for the caregiver once a week.
  • Pick up groceries or prescriptions.
  • Take over lawn care.
  • Visit with your family member. Call when visits are not possible.
  • Let the caregiver know you appreciate all they do.
  • Listen to their cry for help. It could save a life.

When Becoming a Caregiver Comes Sooner Than Expected – Julie’s Story

Dementia isn’t a disease that hits all at once. It is progressive and often goes undetected in the very early stages.  People adapt to small changes in memory or believe it is simply another sign of aging. Often, someone is embarrassed to tell friends and family they have a problem until it is impossible to ignore, leading to the need for difficult choices to be made on behalf of all involved.  Julie knew she would be there should one of her parent’s need help. She didn’t know how soon it would be her reality or how deeply it would affect her.

RodgerThat – Podcast for Caregivers

I am proud to share the exciting news that I am now a co-host, along with my husband, Mike, of a podcast named after my father-in-law, Rodger.

RodgerThat.show is the podcast dedicated to guiding you through the heavy haze of dementia. A new episode goes live each week on Tuesday.
Here is link to an episode where we respond to some questions from caregivers like you who are seeking help on the difficult days that occur for all caregivers.
Managing Behaviors and Emotions with Bobbi and Mike
Your questions and comments are always welcome.
Bobbi Carducci, Certified Caregiving Consultant, Certified Caregiving Educator, International Speaker on Caregiving Issues. http://www.bobbicarducci.com

A Caregiver Asks: My husband left the house in the middle of the night. Other than locks or alarms how can I prevent him from doing this again?

For some, locks seem to present a challenge to the one in care and he or she becomes very ingenious in getting around them. Alarms can frighten and confuse those with dementia making them combative and suspicious increasing the stress for all involved.
Here are a few suggestions that have helped others in your situation:
1. Door decals are available that create the illusion of a bookcase in place of the door. https://bit.ly/2WJykCv

2. Painting the door to match the surrounding walls may work in place of a decal
3. Place dark colored rug in front of the door.  It can appear to be a hole in the floor that your husband will not want to cross.

 If this is happening during the day as well, perhaps going for a short walk or drive with him will get him out of the house long enough to feel better.
1.  Sitting all day, every day gets boring. If the one in your care can walk a bit, perhaps a short walk around the house at the end of the day will help.

2.  Ask him where he is going. His answer will provide some insight as to where his mind has taken him. If possible, enter his world and ask him about that time or place. You may hear some very special memories.
If none of these suggestions work you may have to use a lock or alarm. It doesn’t mean you would be doing anything wrong. It means the disease has progressed to a new level.

1. Locks can be placed high on the door and painted to match the color around them making them hard to see and more difficult to get around.
2. Notify local law enforcement and first responders that a person in your home has dementia and you may need assistance if he or she should wander away. Be sure to remind the dispatcher when you call for help.
There is never one solution that works for everyone with dementia. Feel free to share your suggestions here. Caregivers sharing information makes us all a bit wiser.

Bobbi Carducci, CCC, CCE

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