Sunday, May 21, 2006

Caregiver Stress

This was given out at the last support group meeting. It's from an Alzheimer's resource site, but 100% applicable to Huntingtons Disease and what I've gone through with Tam. While not really anything I didn't already know, it's good to read from time to time to remind myself that the things I feel are real, known, common; and not just faults of my character. Of course knowing something and accepting it in oneself are two entirely different things...

Today is my first full day back from my business trip to Miami and I had planned to spend it with Tam. It's now 5:12 p.m. and although all the unpacking, housework, mail processing and bill paying are done; I have yet to pick up Tammy, still can't get myself to do so, and feel like an unproductive shit. Yay me.

Caregiver Stress

The 24-hour responsibilities of caring for someone with a serious illness or a memory impairment such as Alzheimer's Disease can be a difficult task. Often, caregivers do not realize they may be experiencing stress, but it can be harmful to both caregiver and the person being cared for. Recognizing signs of stress and how to reduce it can help.

Signs of Caregiver Stress
  • Denial about the disease and its effect on the person who has been diagnosed.
    I know Mom's going to get better.
  • Anger at the person with the illness, that no effective treatments or cures currently exist, and that people don't understand what's going on.
    If he asks me that question one more time, I'll scream!
  • Social withdrawal from friends and activities that once brought pleasure.
    I don't care about getting together with the neighbors anymore.
  • Anxiety about facing another day and what the future holds.
    What happens when he needs more care than I can provide?
  • Depression begins to break your spirit and affects your ability to cope.
    I don't care anymore.
  • Exhaustion makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary daily tasks.
    I'm too tired for this.
  • Sleeplessness caused by a never-ending list of concerns.
    What if she wanders out of the house or falls and hurts herself?
  • Irritability leads to moodiness and triggers negative responses and reactions.
    Leave me alone!
  • Lack of concentration makes it difficult to perform familiar tasks.
    I was so busy. I forgot we had an appointment.
  • Health problems begin to take their toll, both mentally and physically.
    I can't remember the last time I felt well.
Ways to Reduce Caregiver Stress
  • Know what resources or support groups are available in your community.
  • Learn about the disease and caregiving techniques.
  • Get help from family and friends.
  • Take care of yourself by watching your diet, exercising and getting enough rest.
  • Accept changes as they occur.
  • Be realistic about what you can do.
  • Don't feel guilty if you can't do everything on your own.

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