While many of the conversations on our blog talk about the issues that relate to the seniors we take care of day in and day out, today we wanted to talk about an issue that relates to the caregiver directly. The reason it might be more common that you think is because there are several factors that might be working against you.
The first is that many caregivers take care of spouses, and likely fall into the same age group. Since age is a big risk factor for dementia, your risk has been increasing over time as you’ve cared for your mate. The second factor is genetics. If there is a history of early on-set Alzheimer’s in your family, and you are caring for that parent, there is a chance that you, too, carry that gene. The third factor is stress. While stress can cause dementia-like symptoms without being dementia, studies show that stress hormones can actually contribute to the disease.
- Make sure that adult children or other trusted parties have the ability to help you. Even though you have been the one that has been asked for help until know, no man (or woman) is an island and you need to be open to asking for help.
- Begin making lists and notes. These should be for your own use and those who may be caring for you and the other person with dementia.
- Prepare to hire in-home caregiving help. This can reduce your stress load, especially if the person you are caring for lives with you.
- Work with the person you have chosen to be your Power Of Attorney for finances. Talk with that person about taking over the checkbook and paying your bills when the time comes.
Most importantly, beware of denial. You needn’t feel guilty or ashamed if you have received a dementia diagnosis. Be proactive and see about respite, caregiving or non medical homecare in Phoenix to help in dealing with it so you don’t waste precious time.