Imagine waking up in the morning in an unfamiliar place, unable to remember what your name is or how you got there. You struggle in vain to figure out the reality of your situation, but your memory is completely blank. Utter confusion turns into fear and anger, and you lash out emotionally at the stranger who is standing by your bed, talking to you in soothing tones. This scenario paints a bleak picture of how an Alzheimer’s patient views the world on a regular basis. Now imagine you’re standing in front of a person you care deeply about, like a spouse or a parent, and that person is looking at you with no recognition at all. As it does nearly every day, your heart breaks a little bit more, but you push the pain aside and go on with your duties caring for your loved one with Alzheimer’s.
According to the latest report from Alzheimer’s Association, a staggering 17.7 billion hours of care were provided by family caregivers in 2013 to those with Alzheimer’s. With the unrelenting mental strain that caring for someone with Alzheimer’s affords, it can be one of the most difficult care provisions. Caregivers have several issues that contribute to their stress levels, such as difficulty in “letting go” of the family member affected by Alzheimer’s; feelings of guilt when considering placement or using out of home help; or fear of appearing vulnerable if help is sought.
Certainly, these statistics showcase a tremendous need for chronic and long-term caregiver respite care, as respite is required more than once or twice per year to be truly beneficial. Caregivers should understand that support is needed and they need to take a break and enjoy a life of their own. Simply devoting a life entirely to taking care of someone can ruin two people’s lives. For some caregivers who do enjoy regular respite, it rejuvenates and affords them something to look forward to.
Call in some caregiving reinforcements if you recognize the signs of burnout, such as:
– Excessive stress and tension
– Debilitating depression
– Persistent anxiety, anger or guilt
– Decreased overall life satisfaction
– Relationship conflicts and social isolation
– Lower immunity and greater need for healthcare services
– Excessive use of medications, drugs or alcohol
If any of these warning signs resonates with you, call Hillendale Home Care today at 925-933-8181. We’ll provide a free in-home assessment by a registered nurse, and create an individualized care plan for your loved one, allowing you some time and breathing space to recharge. Compassionate, competent help is just a phone call away.