In 2015, author Lauren Weinstein released a graphic novel titled “Invisible Patients.” The novel shared the story of a woman who quit her job to care for her husband. Being isolated leads to anxiety, stress, and even depression. The term “invisible patient” covers family caregivers who drop everything to care for an ailing family member and end up dealing with health issues as a result.
Alzheimer’s is One of the Leading Diseases Requiring Caregivers
The Alzheimer’s Association states that over 15 million people in the U.S. care for a loved one with dementia. This care is unpaid. Many family caregivers leave jobs to care for an aging parent, and 1 out of 4 caregivers is also caring for children under the age of 18. Around-the-clock care of a parent with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia strains the emotions and finances. Are you an “invisible patient?” Here are tips on making sure you’re taking care of yourself, too.
Join a Support Group
As your mom or dad progresses through the stages of Alzheimer’s, you need support. You can’t ignore your own needs. Join an online or local support group and have a place to talk about your frustrations and fears. Having friends that truly understand your struggles will help.
Talk to Family Members and Friends
Don’t be afraid to reach out to other family members and friends. Explain your concerns and ask if they can take a shift here and there to help you out. Let them handle chores you struggle to fit in. This might entail having someone take over mowing the lawn or weeding a garden. Make sure you’re asking for help and allowing others to ease some of your burdens.
Take Care of Yourself
You need to care for yourself. Talk to a home care service and hire caregivers to provide you with free time. Use this time to relax and unwind. Take a bubble bath, go for a long walk with a family pet, or go out shopping. Have your spouse or significant other take you out to dinner and to the movies. Spend time with your children and let caregivers handle your parent’s needs for a few hours while you have fun. Whatever you do, make sure you’re focusing on the things you love to do.
Hire a Team of Caregivers
Even if you only hire caregivers for a few days a week, make sure you’re using a team of caregivers to help you out. As Alzheimer’s progresses, your mom or dad might start wandering. You cannot remain awake 24/7, so you’ll need caregivers to be on duty while you get necessary sleep.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Shadyside, PA, please call and talk to the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Pittsburgh at (412) 693-6009. We will answer all of your questions.
Laura has earned her MBA in Health Care Administration from Canisius College, a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is currently a CPR/First Aid Instructor for the American Red Cross. Laura has sat on three Professional Advisory Committees throughout the community, has been on the Board of Directors for a non-profit nursing home, currently acts as an Advisory Board Member for the Allegheny County Respite Care Coalition, Gateway Health Plan, and the North Allegheny School District Elementary Advisory Council. She is also an active committee member of the Southwestern PA Partnership on Aging, Twilight Wish Foundation and Marshall Elementary Yearbook Committee.
Raising four active children with her husband Brian, she seems to spend more time on baseball and soccer fields than she does at home which helps her appreciate their family vacation time even more.
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