The day to day demands of caring for a loved one or patient can get to be overwhelming. It can creep up on you and effect you in surprising ways.
In my last email, I wrote about checking in on your body and discovering areas of tension or stress. This email will be about looking at triggers that may happen to you during your day.
One thing that gets me is the repeated statements or questions that my mother makes. Because of her loss of short term memory, the same statement can be made within seconds of the first time she said it. Instead of just answering her, I will let aggravation take over and I begin to resent having to be the caregiver and the brunt of all the repetition. And then the guilt kicks in.
How do I work though the feelings I have when this happens?
1. The first thing I do is take a breath. Really let the air in deep. This helps to calm me physically, because I am certainly aware of tension that builds in my muscles. Ususally I feel it in my neck and shoulders.
2. Second, I remind myself that this is not my mother’s doing. It is the dementia. I have to keep reminding myself because my mind goes back to who my mother was, not how the decline has effected her. Also, taking the breath above gives me time to not react instantly.
3. Third, instead of the aforementioned reaction to the repetition, I find a way to RESPOND. Sometimes it is a simple un-huh. Sometimes it is a diversion to a different subject.
If you can relate to this scenario, hopefully this information will be helpful.
Enjoy your day.