The fall season is often thought of as the time for new beginnings and the kick-off of some annual events such as school and the football season. However, it also coincides with the ending of certain pleasurable times, like summer and the longer daylight hours of the summer solstice.
In reference to this diminished daylight, seasonal depression can begin – possibly from a loss of vitamin D or maybe it is from other factors unrelated to shortened daylight hours. However, it can be a serious time for those unfortunate folks affected by this change in season.
Caregivers are certainly not immune to this potential depressive time, so it behooves us to once again review some signs of caregiver stress, as well as potential ways to reduce that stress.
The list below is taken directly from the Alzheimer’s Association and their many wonderful publications focused on helping families with an Alzheimer’s victim:
10 Signs of Caregivers Stress
- Denial about the disease and its effects on the person who has been diagnosed
Example: “I know Mom’s going to get better.”
- Anger at the person with Alzheimer’s or others that no effective treatments or cures currently exist and that people don’t understand what’s going on
Example: “If he asks me that question one more time, I’ll scream.”
- Social withdrawal from friends and activities that once brought pleasure
Example: “I don’t care about getting together with the neighbors anymore.”
- Anxiety about facing another day and what the future holds
Example: “What happens when he needs more care than I can provide?”
- Depression begins to affect the ability to cope
Example: “I don’t care anymore.”
- Exhaustion makes it nearly impossible to complete necessary tasks
Example: “I’m too tired for this.”
- Sleeplessness caused by never-ending list of concerns
Example: “What if she wanders out of the house or falls and hurts herself?”
- Irritability leads to moodiness and triggers negative responses and reactions
Example: “Leave me alone!”
- Lack of concentration makes it difficult to perform familiar tasks
Example: “I was so busy, I forgot we had an appointment.”
- Health problems begin to take their toll, both mentally and physically
Example: “I can’t remember the last time I felt good.”
Ways to reduce caregiver stress:
- Know what resources are available in your community
- Constantly reeducated yourself about Alzheimer’s disease and care giving techniques
- Get help from family, friends, and community resources
- Take care of yourself by watching your diet, exercising, and getting plenty of rest
- Manage your level of stress by consulting a physician and using relaxation techniques
- Accept changes as they occur
- Engage in legal and financial planning
- Be realistic about what you can do
Give yourself credit for what you have accomplished; don’t feel guilty if you lose patience or can’t do everything on your own.
By Jeffrey Johnson, Founder of Visiting Angels.
Visiting Angels in Kirkland has a copy of a truly valuable training DVD on dealing with Alzheimer’s. This DVD provides “mini skits” that lets the viewer really see, from the dementia person’s perspective, what our actions, as caregivers, are doing to aggravate or even escalate problem situations. Please contact us to set up a viewing opportunity. 425-828-4500.