Focus

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Where is the focus of a caregiver? Where should it be?

You might be thinking, “That’s a crazy question. Of course the focus is on my loved one.”

It’s not so crazy of a question if you really give it some thought.

Yes, part of the focus is on the person you’re caring for. But shouldn’t the focus also be on YOU?

Think about it:

  • Are you staying healthy?
  • Are you getting enough sleep
  • Are you taking a day for yourself (ever)?
  • Is your day filled with fear, negativity, resentment and all the “what if’s”?

If you answered “no” to the first three and “yes” to the last point,  then you need to start doing some focusing on you.

In my opinion, caregivers have one of the hardest, unrewarding and challenging job on the planet! There’s (usually) no income, no incentives, no bonuses and no perks that typical jobs sometimes offer. So what else is there to focus on, right?

Focus on the gift you were given. What giftThere’s a gift involved? As a matter of fact, there is. You, have been given the privilege to care for someone you love very much. Someone who has been a huge influence in your life. Someone who has made a difference in your life in the past, or maybe the present. Someone you love so much you wouldn’t dare think of anyone besides you to take care of them. And you know what? You do an amazing job as a caregiver. Yes, go right ahead and pat yourself on the back. You deserve some recognition for all that you have done and are doing right at this very time.

I find it somewhat fitting to quote part of a song by Donna Summers from 1983:

“_____years have come and gone

And she’s seen a lot of tears of the ones who come in.

They really seem to need her there.

It’s a sacrifcie working day to day.

For little money just tips for pay.

But it’s worth it all just to hear them say that they care.”

I left the number of years blank on purpose. The song says 28 years. For me, I can insert 19 years. You can insert your own time to make it fit for you. I also left in the part about the money because some of you might be getting paid even if it’s a small amount.

The point is, everyone works hard at being a caregiver day in and day out. It’s truly a sacrifice, but you are needed! We love and care about those in our charge and we would go to the end of the earth to do what is best for them. So why not do the same for yourself?

Try to focus a little more on yourself so you can be all you need to be as a Caregiver.

Is It Time To Be Tested?

Is it time? I wonder how  many people are asking themselves if their loved one needs to be tested for memory cognition? It’s not an easy decision.

If you’re married to the person who has memory problems it might be like walking on eggshells. After all, you don’t want to assume anything and you certainly don’t want that person to take offense at the suggestion. So what do you do?

One way might be to seek out professional counsel. This is actually a smart choice since it not only helps broach the subject with your loved one, it also helps you to understand some of the ins and outs regarding memory loss. This isn’t a skill we learned in school (unless of course, you went to school specifically for this field) so finding someone who is an expert in memory care seems like the common sense route to take.

In the case of the person being a parent, that too, can be a little tricky. While you mean well, your parent might take offense to the fact that you would even entertain they have memory problems. It’s just a part of aging, right? Well, maybe. But if the short term memory has gotten them lost while driving, leaving the house with the stove on, or forgetting to take medications, it just might be time for that testing.

Again, its all about how to approach the subject, your tone of voice and showing your concern in a loving way. No one wants to be “told” they have a memory problem. No one will like you being bossy and taking the dictator approach.

Patience. Empathy. Tact. Love. These are important attributes when talking to someone who might have memory impairment.

Take time to think about how you might feel if someone was talking to you about having memory problems. How would you react? Would you be offended?  Would you be hurt? Would you be defensive? Maybe you would be grateful because someone else cares enough to want to help you find out what’s causing the problem.

Just because someone has memory problems doesn’t mean they have Alzheimer’s disease. There’s so much more to this. That’s why cognitive testing is so important.

If the person you’re concerned about has a history of head injuries this can be associated with memory loss. We’ve seen in the news about athletes who have had repetitive concussions and how it has affected them later on in life.

When you or your loved one notices memory problems beginning, it’s better to check it out sooner than later. Be their partner in this quest, not their enemy.

Dementia is the umbrella for these memory diseases:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Vascular
  • Lewy Bodies
  • Frontal Temporal
  • Huntington Disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease
  • Parkinson’s

Take a moment and go to the Alzheimer’s Association and read about all the different kinds of dementia and educate yourself.

The more you know the less difficult it will be to talk to your loved one about memory problems.