This week I got a call from a friend of mine. His Mom is in her eighties, with early onset Alzheimer’s and a slew of other clinical conditions.
It wasn’t the first time he reached out to me with the same caregiving frustration… In his own words,
“Claudio I’m so frustrated, I don’t know what else to do. My mother won’t eat, drink, and forgets to take her meds all the time!
I’m with her as much as I can. I have a lady that comes and helps with the house, and still the other day she got dizzy, fell, and almost broke her neck… had to spend a whole day in ER with her. And on top of all that, she’s starting to think I’m the enemy!”
I understand… of course I understand.
I helped my parents take care of my paternal grandmother who died of Alz. She’s now 100 y/o but thinks she’s 55, is giving us the hardest time with the caregiver that takes care of her.
We also feel like we don’t know what to do!
What we try very hard not to do, is to create added stress and unnecessary frustration to the mix.
We understand that this is the game we’re in. And I don’t mean to suggest that we treat it like one, what I mean is that for this game there’s also a playbook.
Necessary frustrations (which can also be dealt with btw) are things like:
- Weekly doctor visits. Where you have to take time out of your busy day to take your Mom and spend 3 hours for a 15 minute appointment.
- To find a nursing home or ALF that will take your spouse or loved one because their home is no longer the best option.
- Getting denied insurance coverage for things like help with ADLs (activities of daily living), personal care, companion, home-maker services, etc…
- Extreme sundowning events that could keep you awake for days on end.
- To deal with the emotional weight that comes with caring for a convalescent loved one.
- …and a TON of other ones!
There’s a lot of information in this website and on the web about how to deal with these issues.
But getting bent out of shape over the natural course and progression of caring for someone who’s getting old, is neither productive nor healthy for you.
Yet getting frustrated to the point of desperation and paralysis is what my friend was doing.
He was getting frustrated unnecessarily. The issues his Mom is experiencing can be easily solved.
From where I’m standing he’s adding to the problem, not being a solution’s agent.
In situations like these you need to keep your head, because in these cases it doesn’t get any better and you have to be ready for that without reducing your life to shambles.
I his case, I gave him the same advice as before, but either he didn’t take it or didn’t properly execute.
The solution to his problem is having someone OTHER THAN HIM at the home 3-4 times a day every day. And make sure that she’s bathed, fed, and to help administer the meds.
These 3 main tasks, every elderly person struggles with as their situation deteriorates.
But this is how you simplify it!
3 tasks – 3 times per day(varies) – 7 days a week
Whether the insurance covers it, or you hire private help, or you find a family member or friend to help you. These are all options and issues to address.
Are there other things they may need?
Of course, but these are the essentials.
When you feel frustration creeping in, simplify the situation in your head. Chunk down your actions into bullet points and start executing one by one.
Do this with almost anything, especially when dealing with a caregiving tsunami.Claudio Alegre is the CEO & Chief Content Writer for Angel Home Care Services on the Web and Patient and Family Advocate off the Web. He lives in Miami with his wife and 3 boys. He's passionate about healthcare and all things caregiving. He can be reached at [email protected] or directly at 305.220.4544
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