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Explain how you can manage stress being the dementia caregiver?.

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Pot is legal in Oregon and I take a klonopin before every visit! Yes, I still function through the day - except on a really good day!
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I think the stress definitely comes out in the body. If there is a way to cope, work it out, relax,.......go for it. I was too stressed, overwhelmed, freaked out, etc. when I was trying to provide day to day care for my loved one with dementia. It was horrific and I would be near death now, if I had not placed her into Memory Care. Just the stress from the short time I did try to care for her alone caused me all kinds of physical issues. I learned my lesson. The mental strain is also unbearable.

If I had to suggest anything, it would be to get help. Bring in any help you can get so you can get out and have some time to refresh, relax and not responsible for the loved one for a while. If I ever did assume care for my loved one in my home, I would make sure that I had backup and backup to my backup.
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Ah-ha! I just thought of it! Humor! Laughing! Find the ironic humor in it the best you can. (although there ain't a d*mn thing funny going on..)
Something funny actually did happen. I think my brain is trying to keep me sane; because I do think of funny stuff:
Had mom at doctor the other day and the nurse had a twangy voice - you know the kind that grates on you... she wasn't the most likable gal ever born, and I thought to myself, 'I am fairly certain that this woman's voice holds the key to open one of the seven gates of Hell.' Then I laughed.
Another funny in my mind was when I was thinking about how obsessed mom is with her maltese, Bella. "Where is Bella?" Where is bella where is bella??? (Um, she is sitting next to you looking at you, mom) - well, if Bella was a person, mom would be arrested for stalking. I thought that was kinda funny, too, when I thought of it.
These things just pop up in my head. I often think I would be successful as a stand-up comic for dementia caregivers.
Truth is, laughing is GREAT MEDICINE; even if your laughter turns into sobbing laughs/tears. We all gotta get it out somehow.
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I know my body enough to realize that something's gotta give. I am smoking too many cigarettes, and I am dipping into the vodka in the evenings because this burden - not of the direct caregiving itself - but even the OVERSEEING of mom's caregiving and welfare - is a bear, in and of itself. You see, she will fight me every step of the way with threats, tantrums, self-pity. She refuses to accept she can no longer live alone, and instead of thanking me for busting my ass to find her the best caregiver help available (she needs 24/7) she reminds me almost daily that I am a terrible daughter (well, ma, you shoulda had another kid then cuz i'm an only child!) I get the GROUNDHOG DAY CONVERSATIONS and arguments about WHY she cannot be alone, and when I cannot give in or re-direct her, she stomps her feet, repeats herself for the 2,512 time, and WILL NOT LET GO OF IT. For someone with a dying brain, she sure knows how to wear you down mentally. She's got that down-pat! And here's a case where God knows, I would give into her if I only could. And she doesn't get it, and she never will get it. so I fart along from one day going into the next, dreading even dealing with her because she WON'T make it nice. She won't accept the help. She will b*tch at me, cuz after all this whole thing is my fault...
That is my stress. Being alone in this.
Oh, and I am a mom to two teenagers, neither of them being the biggest angels in the world, but they aren't half as much work as mom is, and my daughter's friends all have crappy parents so basically I have taken the girls in as my own and they spend more time at my house than theirs.... but wait! There's more! I run a business from home which requires me to wheel and deal in the community. In the meantime, the agency is sending new faces every few days for mom, and they are pretty much raping us to the tune of about $400 a day until I find a new permanent girl to come in. (Fingers crossed, I think I have one coming before long, but i'm sure mom will 'hate' her too...)
Mom startles to noises now, obsesses over her dog (if she did this to a person it would be stalking lol) and she basically has to be handled with kid gloves in every department! Oh stop making noise! oh, make the dog stop barking! everyone talk slower for grandma!
UGH ALREADY!!!! I love her, but for the love of God, it's exhausting.
Ask me if i'm tired.
Now, someone smarter than I am would take some time alone... perhaps a walk on the beach or just shut the cell phone off. yeah. I can't be alone. the caregivers who get $400/day call me constantly (and so do their bosses) for this or that or the other thing - and mom is on new behavior meds and thinks there is some guy in her room talking to her at 9:30 at night last night, so yeah. it doesn't end. And the general consensus is that it's only gonna get worse.
A lot worse...
My suggestions to any caregivers (GOD BLESS YOU BY THE WAY) for stress relief would be a massage, cat naps, self-love. All easier said than done at times...
So, in summary, to all of you - just know you are not alone in this. It's a damn pandemic - Did you know that 1 in 3 of humans born in 2015 will develop dementia? Caregiving for dying minds is a booming business, and virtually every family will develop overwhelming stress at some point. sigh.
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I'm not sure I handle the stress well I think I'm ok but it's probably buried very deep. Been looking after mum for 13 years but 24/7 around about 5. Stacked on 30kgs 2016 it's coming off. Don't know how that's going to work
As I reach for chocolate to squash emotions. But I've learnt to meditate 2x day for about 15 mins when she sleeps. When I do that regularly it helps. When things start to get too much I've usually stopped meditating. I teach piano from home and whilst that is becoming increasingly difficult as I juggle mum And the business It also provides sanity. I've also bought a few hypnosis MP3 s. I cuddle my dog and cat a lot. Think
It's the best form of therapy. I also have a brother who is great for dumping my crap on. Thank goodness. I also would welcome suggestions. I don't want to be part of the statistic that becomes ill.
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He has already fallen in the driveway when I was gone and I came home to a note on the door not knowing if he was dead or alive. Raced to the ER and he was ok just shaken. Someone from the road saw him in the driveway and stopped to help I am deathly afraid he is going to fall on the concrete patio and bleed out and I won't be there for him. I just had a big vent with someone and I'm sure she will make me fell better. I guess it's mood swings....I have never had them before. What will happen to all the caregivers that finally have reached their last limit ?
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My only outlet was taking the dogs to the dog park early each morning. Often came home and found my mother either on the floor or staggering about with minor injuries and/or a huge bump on her head. She refused to use her rolling walker, preferring to hang on to the walls and furniture. I think every ER in that city had a chair with my name on it. The final fall at 2 a.m. (second that day) she was in a pool of blood and I couldn't get her up. She went to hospital by ambulance and from there to a NH. She spent 3 years in the NH, screaming daily phone calls, abuse, threats, you name it. I had a nervous breakdown and blacked out doing 85 in my truck. When she passed away in September my BP was very dangerously high. I don't think you ever get over a lifetime of abuse but it gradually eases.
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Surely to God there has to be a medication out there for caregivers !!!!! I don't mean Oxycodone or Meth or Heroin. Just something to help us live while our loved one dies. How can anyone in the world live through that without going insane? Is anyone taking any medication to get through the day and still function ? I would start drinking but my husband would have a drinking problem if I brought that in the house. People say yeah, "sit back, have a glass of wine and unwind". Number one, don't like the taste of alcohol. Pot is not legal. What do you all do to keep from going insane ???????? I have started smoking an e-cig and I never smoked in my life....Lung CA, oh well....
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This is a great question. Let's see. Yoga. or we can smoke and drink ourselves to death... Xanax..... the list goes on. Scratch the yoga... I can't stand the thought of cheerful stay-at-home moms surrounding me on their pink mats talking about Starbucks and the sale at Macy's while I am trying to make my big toe touch my forehead! lol ;) In all seriousness, I think a one-way plane ticket to Bermuda right about now, with no cell phone would be a great start to relieve my stress. But that's not going to happen. Mom has a 92 year old body that never smoked, never drank. Eat REAL food all her life... so here she sits in her home in a shell of a body that has the energy of the energizer bunny, and the brain of a 5 year old.... You don't know what I went through for her caregiver to gain her trust last year... and then she bailed on us - literally bailed no notice just left a key and skipped town (she was wanted by the IRS and, as it turns out, was m manic depressive...) - Now, as temp agency caregiver after caregiver comes and goes every few days... and she is making is literally impossible for me to keep her in her home at this rate, insisting that she is FINE as she places little flower arrangements inside the dish drainer. I guess you have to laugh, but it's not funny anymore when you have 2 teenagers and a business to run. Her mind is dying and her body hasn't gotten the memo. The whole thing sucks.
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Eyerishlass above has good ideas, bring in caregivers or place your loved one in a continuing care facility. In most cases that will exchange one stress for another, but at least you would be able to sleep at night.

For me, I had to take over paying my Dad's bills as he didn't want to bother with it as it was Mom's job... well Mom is in a nursing home so she's not going to be doing any checkbook writing. Dad said he would reimburse me. Well, it's like pulling teeth to get him to reimburse me because he doesn't want to blow the dust off his wallet.

I am waiting for yet another shoe to drop.... and the shoes are piling up.
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Too bad we can't have a crystal ball so that one's elder or whomever we are caring for could see themselves and what choices they were making... they would be horrified at what is happening.

I agree with Ashlynne above.... stress hits us from all angles.... and that stress can kill you, that is why 40% of caregivers die leaving behind a loved one. It's just stress upon stress upon stress, then thrown in our own age decline and medical issues, it makes a dirt nap sound pretty good right now :P
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If the stress of caring for someone with dementia were manageable forums like this wouldn't exist.

There are books you can read, support groups you can attend, and ideas you can try but at the end of the day it's just you and the person with dementia. Literally, at the end of the day it's just the two of you and while your loved one is sundowning or throwing his/her food or trying to hit you all the books, groups, and ideas in the world aren't there to help you. Have you considered in-home care or a nursing home? There will always be stress as long as your loved one is alive with dementia but bringing in assistance or placing him/her in a nursing home lessens the stress a bit. There's still stress, don't get me wrong, it's just different.
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OMG Ashlynne, that was cheery, lol! But I do agree with you. Your answer reminded me of a conversation in a movie where the actor asks about how the other person wants to be told bad news - he says something like "do you want it straight or sugar coated?" The other actor says "you decide". So after being told horrendous news the recipient says "is it too late for sugar coated?" The reply " that was the sugar coated"!
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You can't and eventually it will kill you due to a stroke or heart attack.
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