Yes, sleeping through the night is an impossibility, I discovered, when you’re caring for an Alzheimer’s patient. Mother had no sense of time and would get up in the middle of the night, thinking it was day I found I would never tell her we were going somewhere the next day. She’d get up in the night and begin getting ready.
But God helps us through it. I look back now and know I was priviledged to care for Mother.
However, it did reach a point where I had to place her in a nursing home. I had an outside-the-home job, too, and Jim had a business to run. It started as day care at a nursing home, then evolved to residency. At some point you realize you can’t physically do everything, much as you want to.
A friend recently assumed the care of her sister who has Alzheimer’s. She never expected the intense time commitment and frustrations this would involve. Do you have friends in this same situation?
Reach out a helping hand:
- If you live nearby, offer to stay with the Alzheimer’s patient for short periods so the caregiver can have some free time.
- Be available for chats, even if it’s simply instant messaging or e-mails of encouragement.
- Send cards that will encourage the caregiver.
- Share some of your experiences so she/he will know they’re not alone.
- Encourage them to find humor in various situations.
- Offer tips if the caregiver is receptive.
- Make a meal for the family occasionally.
- Offer to run errands if you can’t sit with the patient while the caregiver does this.
What have you found helpful when you’ve been a caregiver? How do you help other caregivers?