Caring for an adult with chronic issues be very challenging. When someone, any age really, is unable to safely care for themselves, it falls on the shoulders of someone else. A spouse or child will usually be the go to person for this. We see this mostly with dementia, though can be seen with many other medical conditions—cancer, amputation, renal failure on dialysis. There are many different things that can cause someone to need help with their activities of daily living.
It can become very challenging as the care giver. Care giver burnout is a very real and serious issue. Having to be on 24/7 for another life is very challenging, especially when it is an adult. Many times adults, depending on their medical condition, can become combative, angry, upset. Since these are adults, it is much more challenging than dealing with my 2 year old. Though sometimes, that actually is the best attitude to take!
Routine, routine, routine is probably THE most important thing when it comes to caregiving, especially in someone with dementia. Setting a schedule, using the same fork, fixing the same meals—sounds familiar? Yup, this is what I do for my 2 year old—doesn’t always work, though does seem to keep things as balanced as possible.
Take time for yourself. Yes, you heard me right. Caregiving is exhausting, you HAVE to take a break. Adult caregiving is not a service covered by insurance, so these are for cash. Though there are many options. Locally we have a few that are great. Talk to you doctor about their recommendations for safe, reliable services. These are not going to be cheap, so make sure you do your research.
Find support groups. Many hospitals will have support groups for the caregivers. It is helpful to find others that are in your same situation.
Talk to their doctor. Be honest. Let them know that you are really feeling a lot of pressure. Maybe there is something that can be done. Sometimes, simple changes to medications or medical routines can help, which makes the situation more tolerable.
If you just reach a point that you cannot do it any more, that is okay. You are not a bad person, you are not letting anyone down. In fact, I would argue, you are actually doing a world of good—being burned out can be quite detrimental to everyone’s health.
Just know, you are not alone—
…until next time, IrishDoc07