Alzheimer’s Care Givers – Becoming the Observer

Listening, watching, using my feelings to guide me, became tools that became more and more useful to me as I learnt to trust them in managing my fathers deteriorating health as Alzheimer’s disease became more present in our lives.

In life, many people naturally assume that someone else knows what is best for them and our loved ones.
Fundamentally, this may be an incorrect belief, however, the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease together with its impact on your family has the ability to promote the feelings of fear, flight, panic, denial and over whelming periods of anxiety, as we try to cross a bridge before we have even set out on the journey.

In the family unit observing individual behaviour and body language has the ability to give you a lot of insightful information, and at times in abundance about what may be going on. Understanding what is not said in conversations with the well parent gave me more insight into how they were feeling about what was unfolding in their relationship.

When a relationship starts to change especially where Alzheimer’s disease plays a major factor, I hear the following.

I don’t want people in my home helping us, I can do it.
I am doing everything I can.
I am tired, exhausted, can’t cope much more.
When the inevitable happens what will happen to me?
Will I be ok without him/her?
I am embarrassed and now I am isolated.
What am I going to do?

In some relationships, partners want to look after each other. They are proud people and/or maybe from a generation that are unable to ask for help. They may feel it is a burden to other members of the family that they wish to protect. The education of what to expect regarding the development of Alzheimer’s disease plays a key role in how to encourage families to all play an important role in the family. Communication is the key and the channels need to be encouraged to remain open at all times in order for the experience not to take flight and destroy the family along the way.

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