The main lobby was packed with senior citizens checking out the poster exhibition and queuing up for the various free health tests. But it was the forum that drew my interest, in particular, Dr Rizah Mazzuin's presentation on 'Caregiver Stress'. Dr Rizah is a geriatrician with Hospital KL.
Any primary caregiver looking after an elderly person with Alzheimer's can tell you about the STRESS plus FRUSTRATION you will face. You have to look after a person who is often uncooperative, unresponsive and unpredictable. That's the nature of Alzheimer's - a disease which eats away at one's ability to remember, communicate and function normally.
If you are the sole caregiver of someone with Alzheimer's, do seek help from your siblings, neighbours or part-time nurses. Get them to take over for a few hours a week so that you can have a break to rest, relax and revitalize. (Read how my siblings helped out when I became primary caregiver for my mom after her hip surgery. To complicate the caregiving, she was also diagnosed with Alzheimer's. (http://www.seniorsaloud.com/2011/03/it-takes-whole-family.html)
|In June 2011, my daughters gave me an all-expense paid week-long vacation in Phuket. They called it my 'caregiver break' as they felt I needed to get away and re-energize. More at http://www.seniorsaloud.com/2011/06/caregiver-takes-break-in-phuket.html|
Learn to delegate. Also learn to accept that others who help you may not do things exactly the same way as you do. In other words, don't micro-manage. People are more willing to help you if you are reasonable in your expectations.
Join a support group like ADFM NATIONAL ALZHEIMER'S CAREGIVERS SUPPORT NETWORK MALAYSIA. Nothing helps to relieve stress more than sharing your concerns with others who are on the same caregiving journey as you. There is comfort in knowing that you are not alone.