Strength in Caring: Giving Power Back to the Alzheimer's Caregiver

Strength in Caring: Giving Power Back to the Alzheimer's Caregiver

by Mark Matloff


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Caregivers are family members and friends who provide care for a person with Alzheimer's disease. Your gift of care giving is a noble act of love. But it can also be difficult and draining. If you are a caregiver, you know the practical and personal demands it can put on you. Good care giving demands good self-care. This book is a guide to help you to:
-Understand important medical and legal aspects of Alzheimer's disease
-Empower yourself psychologically to better handle the demands of care giving
-Gain more emotional muscle, balance and control
-Combat the negative feelings that too often accompany care giving: depression, self-blame, self-pity, hopelessness, anger, anxiety, guilt
-Turn perfectionism into acceptance
-Go from procrastination to action
-Learn rapid stress busting techniques designed to quickly refresh and recharge you. Some will come as a surprise!
-Build happiness
-Much more

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781598001624
Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.
Publication date: 10/19/2005
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.55(d)

Read an Excerpt

As said earlier, we face two important sets of tasks. One set involves making decisions for and caring for our loved ones. The second set deals with caring for and strengthening ourselves emotionally. Both sets require energy, wisdom, commitment, and practice, as well as specific attitudes and behaviors. And both are absolutely necessary. You may ask, "Why is it important to care for myself emotionally? Shouldn’t this be just about taking care of my loved one? What right do I have to think of myself? Isn't that selfish? After all, I’m not the one with Alzheimer’s!" The answer: if we burn out our own emotional batteries, we run out of energy to care for others-and then what good are we as caregivers? Not much. We need to learn self-care, as well as the art of R and R (Resting and Recharging). Remember the Bible story of creation? After working nonstop for six days, even God rested on the seventh. Even God. Why did God rest? Maybe He needed to recharge before going back to work. And if even God needed to rest and recharge, how about us simple humans? How about even you? Think about our modern marvels. A jet engine is a powerful workhorse-but you would not think of constantly running it at full throttle. It would burn out. How about even human, nonmechanical you? So, the first and perhaps most important point here is that our ability to care for others and our ability to care for ourselves are actually two sides of the same coin. We need to be able to attend to both needs. This makes it incredibly important for us to learn to take care of ourselves. If we can’t keep ourselves in good emotional shape, how can we hope to be there for someone who needs us? In order to take care of another person we MUST also be able to take care of ourselves....Sensible Thoughts Trigger Moderate Emotions, Extreme Thoughts Trigger Distress and Upset Feelings. This is a very important idea to bear in mind, so it’s worth repeating. The fact is that the more sensibly we think about things, the more in control we feel- and the more strength and power we will have to deal with life's stresses and demands. On the other hand, when we have extreme thinking, we feel worse and we have less control. This is especially important when you think about Alzheimer's disease.

Why? Alzheimer's disease puts many extraordinary and continuous demands upon even the strongest of caregivers. The disease progresses, and as it progresses, the person with Alzheimer's needs more and more structure and help. The stresses and demands on the caregiver increase. How will extreme thinking affect a caregiver's energy? If the best caregiver in the world tortures him/herself with extreme thinking about these very real stresses, he/she will only end up feeling weaker and worse. It's kind of like being punished again and again for the same thing. Another way of looking at it is that extreme thinking can make you put $5,000 worth of pain into a $500 problem. Why is this concept so important? Because it gives us the power to change what we can change. In this case, we can change how we think about things. We can't change many of the realities of Alzheimer's disease. But if we can learn to think more sensibly, we can reduce our distress, and increase our personal power in order to be the best caregivers we can. We can change our thinking and that can change how we feel-and that changes our power.

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