I’m naturally an anxious person and I find it difficult to not worry about my dad. Even though he is currently being cared for well, it feels like there is a problem or issue to deal with almost daily. Maybe it’s because I don’t have as much experience with being fully responsible for caring for someone (I don’t have kids yet). I often find myself overthinking or worrying too much about things that could happen to him.
How do you all cope and not stress out about the future, particularly when you know things won’t get better with dementia?

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Your dad is living in AL; my mother is living in AL too (Memory Care AL) and has been since 2019; my dad was living with her in Independent Living since 2011 before all hell broke loose and they had to be emergency moved into AL back in 2014. So I know all about anxiety and worrying and waiting for the other shoe to drop b/c it's done so over and over again for the past 7+ years. Dad passed in 2015 and it's been one thing after another, literally, with my mother ever since. She's just shy of 95 with advanced dementia and has fallen 80x so far. Just got a call that woke me up out of a sound sleep this morning, from the nurse at the AL, that yep, mom fell again, getting up from bed to 'go to work' and forgetting that she can't walk.

Here's my advice to you, from one anxiety ridden daughter to another: take things one day at a time and wait for the AL to call YOU before you start worrying. No call=no worries. No ambulance ride to the ER today = a good day. Don't borrow trouble for tomorrow that hasn't happened today. Otherwise, dad may outlive YOU and then what? No joke. If and when the phone rings, THEN you will deal with the chaos of the day. But until that happens, all is well. Watch some mindless TV, read a book, do a Sudoku puzzle, but don't think about dad. Force your mind OFF of the subject of what's going on with him b/c that sort of thought process leads to bad places.

My daughter the RN is always advising me to 'get therapy' but here's how I look at it: Unless the therapist is going to take the phone calls from the AL, then s/he is not going to help me manage anything. Unless the therapist is going to talk my mother off whatever ledge she's teetering on at the moment, then s/he is not going to help me manage anything. Unless the therapist is going to figure out what 'therapeutic fib' to tell my mother this time about where all her dead relatives are today, then s/he is not going to help me manage anything. "Talk therapy" is about finding solutions to problems; dementia doesn't have a solution; the only solution is when the loved one passes away. Until then, it's one day at a time.

Wishing you the best of luck with a very, very difficult situation from one who 'gets it'.
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Reply to lealonnie1
Courage726 Oct 18, 2021
This is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and your advice.
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"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." Philippians 4:6

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10

"Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Matthew 6:27

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:34

"Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4:8

These were just a few of the Bible verses that helped me keep my "peace" while I was caring for my husband in our home. None of us have control over what the future will hold, so it's best to just take one day at a time, and try and make the best of each day given to us by the Good Lord, as none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. All worrying does is steal our joy, and we all need more joy in our lives now more than ever. It also can make us start having health issues, so it's really not worth it in the end, so lay your worry aside, and instead start thinking about all you have to be grateful for. You may even want to start what I call a "grateful" notebook. You will be amazed on how quickly your attitude will change for the positive, when instead of focusing on the negative, you focus on all that is positive.
So be grateful that your dad is being well taken care of, and just enjoy whatever time you have left with him. May God bless you and keep you.
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Reply to funkygrandma59
Courage726 Oct 19, 2021
Thank you so very much. I am keeping these verses close to my heart
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Please know you are not alone in your struggle for peace. I have an older brother with vascular dementia in assisted living, and I am the only family member left living who can help him. I'm 70 myself with my own health issues, so the worry goes both ways for me---worry about my brother and worry about what will happen to him if something happens to me.

I respectfully disagree that counseling therapy is only to find solutions. I have a therapist I meet with online twice a week, paid for by Medicare. The goal is not to find a solution because there is none. The goal of counseling is to create a "safe space" with a trained listener who can validate everything you're feeling and help you find ways to cope, not to make the problem go away.

One of the most helpful things my therapist tells me is that I have VERY GOOD REASON to worry. The circumstances are painful and difficult. It's not wrong to worry; it's human because we love. We worry because we love our family members, and that's a good thing, not a bad one. All the wonderful Bible verses that were posted are all about how to MANAGE worry, not that worry is wrong or how to make it go away.

It's impossible to "not think" about something as close to your heart as your dad. No one ever tells a mother to "not think" about her children if they're in trouble. Why do we think our concerns for our aging relatives are any less valid?

It is possible to "put your worry to work" to find constructive, self-caring ways to cope. A good therapist can help you with that. Again, please know you are not alone.
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Reply to svking
Courage726 Oct 21, 2021
Thank you so much. Putting my worry to work is very helpful.
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FunkyGrandma has your answer. No one on this earth can know peace until they've met the One who gives peace that passes understanding.
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Reply to Bunny567

If anyone has a recipe for a magic potion that eliminates worrying, please send me a copy. Constant worry can affect our thinking and emotions and even our decision making. Uncertainty about the future is largely the cause of our worrying. For you, the uncertainty of how long your dad will live, will he suffer, will he recognize me, how will it be without him, are some of the concerns you may have. Worrying is a natural emotion. I'm always worrying about something. Your worry may be what's called anticipatory grief, anticipating how and when he will die. Some have suggested prayer as a way to relieve your worry.

As a lifelong Catholic, prayer has been a big part of my life, but nothing really changed until I took some action to address my worry. For medical issues I sought a doctor, for psychological issues (depression) I sought counseling, when conflicted I spoke to my parish priest, when worrying about my family, I kept in close contact (seeing or speaking to them helped relieve my anxiety), when worrying about my wife I sought a dementia support group. Is there someone you can confidently express your feelings to?

“The Lord helps those who help themselves” is not a bible phrase, although many people think it is, but it is good motto to help motivate us to take action. It suggests to me that we should not rely solely on prayer to relieve our concerns.

So go ahead and worry, anticipate his death, but find an outlet, usually another person, to express your emotions to.
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Reply to sjplegacy

Awe, bless your heart... You are doing such a great job. Take a big deep breath and call a counsellor to help you with anxiety. They now have wonderful techniques and exercises to help with anxiety, and worrisome thoughts. A few sessions and you will be sleeping better and feeling great.
Each time you feel those anxious thoughts, take a deep breath and remember he is getting great care, he is safe and you can enjoy these final years healthy, also caring for yourself.
God bless,
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Reply to Patti2021

Try not to think of the things that come up as "problems" but rather as decisions that you have to help make about his care. The most important thing you said is that he is being cared for well. Don't worry about the future, but take each day as it comes. And accept him for what he is is each day. Try to spend your time with him in a loving and helpful way so that this time is quality time. Hopefully he has enough money so that you don't have to stress over money. If needed, get connected with a social worker in his area (his facility may have one if he is in a facility) to explore all of his options.
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Reply to NancyIS

There is Humanistic "peace"...God Gives Spiritual Peace. He wants to have a "intimate" relationship with you. There are over 2500 verses in the bible that confirms His desires to have a intimate relationship with you.
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Reply to DKelso34

I know what you mean. The stress and worry comes from you feeling insecure. You know change will come and things feel out of your control.

Except, control is an illusion. None of us really have any control.

My best advice would be to stop trying to look at the big picture. Now, this is something that I’ve struggled with, ‘cause I’m a ‘big picture’ kind of gal, but there are far too many unknowns and variables that it makes it literally impossible to plan ahead. Therefore, don’t try to.

Really, it’s like you’re climbing a set of stairs, only you’re blindfolded and can’t see where you’re going. All you can focus on is the next step. What will your father need next?

And….put more focus on there here and NOW. What does your father need right now to make life better? What do YOU need right now to make your life better? Things will change - that’s inevitable - but that’s a future step. Right now, just worry about the one that you’re on.

Stay present with him. Enjoy as best you can how he is right now, and let the bad days slide off, hoping for a better tomorrow.
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Reply to Lizbitty

After living a very stressful life I have confidence in leaving it in Jesus' hands.

Stress is caused by you wanting to be in control when in reality you have very little control over events in your life.

I surrender it all to Jesus and leave it in His capable hands.
I also obey His instructions.

If you can find a quiet place take a Bible, sit there and unload on Jesus. Then be quiet and wait for His answer. He will answer. He always has for me.
As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength. Psalm 138:3

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. Psalm 16:8  

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. Isaiah 41:10

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26: 3

Thank you Poppa for blessing me with Your Divine peace. There is no need to be afraid nor worried because I know You send The Holy Spirit to walk through the hard times with me. 

Because You love me I know You only want is best for me. Here is my life. I trust in You. I surrender my will for Thine. Joseph a son of Jehovah  

Father, I know you love me. You have done so much to bless and save me. I deliberately place the worries and concerns of my heart in your hands… (specifically mention the things that burden your heart today). Father, I also want to thank you for the many ways you have blessed me over my life… (specifically mention blessings you have received from God). Now, dear Father, please fill my heart with your Spirit and my mind with the sense of your presence and peace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen

These verses have safely carried me through many stormy waters as they will you

May the peace of Christ, which is the best medicine there is for the heart and mind, envelope you like a warm blanket on a cold evenings night. Joseph- Anthony a son of Jehovah
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Reply to Christservant

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