One of the things they don’t warn you about is how incredibly frustrating you can find the person you are caring for.
Dementia, Alzheimer’s, “chemo brain”…They change the essence of this person that you’ve admired and looked to to solve all of your own problems. The strangest part is watching your personal “superhero” become a mere mortal.
It never happens all at once. It’s slow and it appears, seemingly, out of nowhere. It also comes and goes, so while a conversation may start off normal, you quickly find yourself lost on the yellow brick road wondering when that tornado blew into town again. The person you are caring for also tends to be pretty adamant that nothing is wrong with them. And that it is in fact YOU that doesn’t understand. Many of them become angry and can be very aggressive.
What a wonderful side effect no one cares to mention…
It’s usually during one of these conversations that you begin to feel like you are about to completely lose it. You may even argue back until you remember the reality of what is happening. Unfortunately this does nothing to lower your blood pressure, or the urge to throw something and cry.
You must begin to use your access your tool belt. The tools that you have stored away to save your own sanity in these moments. The list below helped me
- WALK AWAY. Make sure they are safe and then make an exit. Removing yourself is the first thing you should do.
- Get outside. The fresh air will do wonders, I promise you. Even if it’s 20 degrees, it’s still better that torturing yourself inside the house.
- Take three long deep breaths. Work on making your exhalations twice as long as your inhalations. It is scientifically proven that regulating your breath aids in calming the nervous system.
- Mentally assure yourself that you love this person and that they don’t know what they are saying. This may sound ridiculous. Of course you love them or you wouldn’t be there, but sometimes you need to remind yourself. You need to say the words to yourself to convince your brain and your emotions that love is driving this and to remain empathetic.
- Now do something else. Check your emails from your friends, respond to positive text messages. Return a call that has NOTHING to do with your situation. Go eat something yummy. Do something, for you.
- Lastly, remember that you are not alone. You are part of an army of Caregivers. You are a strong and capable adult. And your loved one, no matter where their mind travels to, loves you and silently thanks you for everything that you do for them.
What are some of your own methods to remain patient?
Please feel free to leave a comment below!