Saturday, June 26, 2010

Alzheimer's Getting Worse?

No not you. Your loved one, the person you are caring for? Why do I ask? Because in the beginning, we think we can manage. Maybe we can slow it down, but then the little changes add up, and now it's a lot different. We may even be seeing the limits of our ability to provide the proper care on the horizon. And we are having the little nagging thoughts that maybe it would be best if mom/dad/husband/wife were in a place where they can keep him/her safe.
But maybe you promised never to put them in one of those places? Maybe they are too "with it" to accept placement? Maybe you want to wait just a little longer? At some point, and only you know that place, you are going to either concede that the ability to provide proper care is beyond you, or you are going to start rationalizing excuses.
I don't want to burst your bubble, rain on your parade, but I don't want you to burn out either. Because with burn out very often come serious illness. And the truth is there are places where they provide the care, the environment, and the safety that your family member needs. Imagine that a board and care is providing for your loved ones needs, so you are free to just spend quality time with them?
By the way, for those of you that are here at this blog for the first time, my name is Donahue Vanderhider, I am a Gerontologist. A big word for "expert on aging". My training is from the first doctorate program ever started, which is at the University of Southern California and almost 20 years in the field. I have been on the speakers bureau of the Alzheimer's Association for much of that time, and I have been the executive director of several licensed assisted living communities in California.
I am telling you all this, because I have seen and counseled hundreds of families like yours. Sadly, I see the inevitable conclusion, and I want to help you make the most of your time with your loved one. You may be presenting a tough exterior to the world, but I know that deep down your heart is breaking. And maybe you feel that you have to in order to keep going day in and day out without breaking down. I understand, it's no surprise that they say caregiving is the most stressful thing you can experience.
But I want to help, and I offer you this: if you have a question, ask it! If you want to share your experience, by all means do so right here! Many people will see it. In the coming weeks I will be launching a podcast for families. Because there is no point in reinventing the wheel. Sign up and get some great guidance. Please stay in touch, if you want to be notified sign up on that form to your right -->

Finally, I don't want to end without making a pitch for an organization that I have known since they started. As an executive director I have see many families find the right place for their loved one through this organization:A Place For Mom It is a free service to families (if you pick a community they will pay "A place for mom" its SOP (standard operating procedure). But you will never pay a cent. In fact, people that use placement agencies often get a lower rate.
Talk to you (literally) very soon...

1 comment:

  1. This is a very useful blog. Here is something I can share: we just saw a remarkable documentary on how the creative arts are helping to open doors of communication for those with Alzheimer's and their families. The film has some truly courageous caregivers who share their experiences; as well as medical experts. We felt uplifted and hopeful after seeing the film - the name is "I Remember Better When I Paint". We got the DVD on amazon after a friend told us about it.


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