To say that it can be challenging, or downright frustrating at times when you are caring for someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s is putting it mildly! No matter how much you love the person you are caring for, frustration is going to start pecking at your spirit and your psyche before too long, which is when you need to step back, take a good look at the situation and accept that the frustration you are feeling is absolutely normal!
You are not a Saint, no matter how patient you are as an individual, caring for someone you love as their memories start slipping away is painful enough as it is, but the guilt you may start storing up in your system each time you feel frustration building up could easily start you down the slippery slope of depression, which is the last thing you need in a situation that is tough enough on its own.
Believe it or not, once you start acknowledging that frustration is a normal and valid emotional response to the complexities of being a caregiver to someone you love, you will be able to start looking for positive ways in which to approach these feelings, before they start having serious consequences for you or the person you are caring for.
There are many techniques that you can explore to find the balance you need in order to cope, especially when you reach such a point of frustration that it starts having a negative impact on your health or causes you to become aggressive and angry towards the loved one you are caring for.
The ability to distinguish between what is isn’t in your power to change is essential in dealing with feelings of frustration, exhaustion and a sense of failure – we all want to feel that we have the power to cope with the debilitating changes that occur when a loved one is living with dementia, but, none of us is superhuman, and if you try to be, you are going to struggle a lot more than if you take a good look at what you can do to make your life as a caregiver a little easier.
There are so many little situations that you cannot control when caring for someone with dementia, even the most normal of daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing can become totally frustrating; add to this the fact that your loved one asks the same questions over and over again, or wanders off the moment you turn your back, and you have the perfect recipe for physical and emotional exhaustion.
One of the greatest lessons to learn, other than recognising the warning signs of frustration and learning to calm yourself or communicate assertively, is to accept that you are going to need help in order to remain useful to your loved one!
There are many steps that you can learn to take to make the journey of caring for a loved one with dementia easier, for both of you, but the most critical step to take is to reach out your hand and say ‘I need help!’.
You cannot do it all on your own, and accepting that it is okay to let go a little and let in those who are able to help is all part of giving yourself permission to be the best possible version of yourself as a loving caregiver, and one of the ways in which you can do this is to find a trusted, professional caregiver to take on some of the daily tasks, so that you get the breaks you need and deserve.
This is why the management team at CareChamp put together a portfolio of trusted caregivers in Cape Town who are passionate about their role in caring for others and are highly trained in dealing with clients living with dementia, or those in need of frail care.
The caregivers at CareChamp have all received the highest level of training possible in caregiving and are trusted implicitly by clients to respect their privacy, maintain their safety and security in the familiarity of their own home.
Caring for any loved one who is in need of disabled care, frail care, dementia care or care due to a chronic, debilitating illness, will be a challenging journey if you try to take it on alone; allow yourself to take a break when you need it by contacting the management team at CareChamp to set up a care routine and plan that will bring you, your family and your loved one the relief you all deserve!