November is National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness and National Family Caregivers Month. Caring for someone with a form of dementia is stressful. According the National Alzheimer's Association, more than four in five caregivers would have liked more support in providing care for someone with dementia, especially from their family. With millions of Alzheimer's caregivers across the country, that leaves a lot of people in need of support.
I moved in with our grandmother to care for her when she was 94. At this point she had signs of dementia which would worsen over the next two years before she passed away. Symptoms include:
• Short term memory problems
• Repeatedly asking the same questions
• Becoming anxious and withdrawn
• Mood changes
• Becoming obsessive
When our grandmother began to experience these symptoms, she refused to see a doctor and was increasingly unable to move around, let alone leave the house. I would turn to meditation, to prayer, to yoga, and to my sister and friends for comfort and relief from the stress I was dealing with. My mindfulness practice deepened and it helped me to keep my temper and to find solutions to keep our grandmother comfortable at home as long as possible, as was her wish.
If you are a caregiver, try to incorporate more mindful awareness to your days to bring some semblance of calm when you need it most. Here's some information from our friends at Encore in the UK on Dealing with Dementia and important steps to take if you are a caregiver.
By Michele Garvey