Our parents are our rock. It is from them that we learned the fundamental life lessons that have carried us into (hopefully) a healthy, happy and productive adulthood. Although we took them for granted in our younger years (what kid doesn’t) as we grew older and wiser we became more and more cognizant of the sacrifices that they have made for us and the hard work that they put in to shape us into someone whom we are proud to be. When our own kids come along, we do our best to take the best of what we have learned from our parents and transfer it to our own parenting style in an effort to give them the best of our own childhood.
Thus, when a parent (or any elderly relative) is afflicted by Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, it can be an extremely trying time for the whole family. Looking after a parent with Alzheimer’s can be extremely taxing physically emotionally and psychologically, especially when we are also looking after our own children. It can cause us to draw on reserves of inner strength we never knew we had and take us to new depths of exhaustion and upset that we never thought possible.
It can be extremely difficult to get through this challenging time, but I want you to remember…
You are not alone
When you are caring for any kind of sick relative it can feel as though the weight of the world is on your shoulders. You likely kick into “responsible mode” without even thinking about it and present an unwavering facade to your parent, your kids and the world. But when you get behind a closed door, the weight of all your responsibility can feel like too much.
Just remember… You are not alone!
There are memory care facilities which can help you to lighten the load and even if assisted living is not yet the appropriate option they can still be an invaluable source of help and advice. You should also lean on your doctor for support and advice as well as charitable organizations like Alz.org which can be a great source of support and actionable help and advice.
Keep your expectations realistic
Thanks to a better understanding of medicine and nutrition, those with Alzheimer’s are better prepared than ever to deal with their condition. Unfortunately there is no recovery from Alzheimer’s as it results in the death of brain tissue, however there is a lot that can be done to slow its progression.
What’s important is that you keep your expectations realistic and liaise regularly with your parent’s caregivers to get a clear idea of their treatment and progress. It’s vital that you don’t expect yourself to single-handedly facilitate their recovery. You’re only human after all. Sometimes, the best and only thing that you can do is be a constant source of unwavering love and support.
God loves them, and you!
Finally, whenever you feel as though you’re single-handedly keeping the world on its axis, take some time to commune with the big guy upstairs. God loves you and He loves your parent. While it can be difficult to feel His love when in the midst of his trials he has a plan for both of you!