Many of our caregiver clients are dealing with the biggest challenges they have ever faced. Their loved one can no longer toilet, feed, bathe, and dress themselves. Watching a family member lose the ability to function and revert to a childlike state is not only devastating and heart wrenching, but also financially debilitating. I often hear the caregiver state they would not put their loved one in a nursing home with “those old people”. Unfortunately as you age, it is almost impossible to take care of a terminally ill person with Dementia at home safely.
In fact, caretakers often die before the person that has been diagnosed with the disease. The overwhelming stress causes physical problems as well as mental health problems. We have seen our clients die from caretaker burnout. If you do not take care of yourself, you could die or become impaired leaving no one to care for your loved one. Some suggestions to avoid burnout:
- Do not deviate from your normal routine. i.e. go to the gym, get your hair done, get a massage.
- See your doctor regularly and let them know about your situation. Do not skip appointments.
- Seek Respite Care if your spouse is in the home. We coordinate with local facilities.
- If your spouse is in the home, call the Elder Help Line at 332-3049. They may be able to provide services to you free of charge if your spouse qualifies. This may include adult day care, house cleaning, grocery shopping etc.
- Know that your feelings toward your loved one are normal. The 5 stages of grief are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. After all, you are losing a loved one to a vicious disease.
- Accept help from friends and family.
- Attend Support Groups, they are amazing!!!
- Consider placement in a facility. We have great ones in Naples.
- Acknowledge your limits, you are not a superhero!
If you are suffering from caregiver burnout, call our office at 434-8557 and we will assist you accessing the appropriate services.