When It Falls In Your Lap, It's a Blessing: The Unprepared Dementia Caregiver

When It Falls In Your Lap, It's a Blessing: The Unprepared Dementia Caregiver.

Does becoming a dementia caregiver ever NOT just fall into your lap?!

 hands in lap

 

If you were to ask me today if I would have ever dreamed that I would be initiated into a very large "club", I'd have said you were nuts. I certainly wasn't looking to join a club. I never signed up. I never even shared my information. However, starting in 1998, I was a member...an unknowing, unprepared member

This "club" I'm referring to requires no pledge, no contribution, is not exclusive, does not discriminate against age, gender, ethnicity, religion. 

Membership is estimated over 150 million worldwide.

For the size of this group, one would think members would be loud, vocal, protesting even.

Not hardly.

Many of these members can barely speak. Those that do are so busy just trying to make it day by day, that standing up any more on their own two feet, often feels like a chore. In fact, these folks need more time to sit down. 

If you haven't figured out by now, I'm addressing the worldwide dementia community: those living with Alzheimer's and related dementia, and their caregivers (both paid and unpaid-family caregivers).

The World Health Organization estimates the number of people living with dementia worldwide is currently estimated at 47.5 million and is projected to increase to 75.6 million by 2030. The number of cases of dementia are estimated to more than triple by 2050. (http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/dementia/en/)

Dementia is overwhelming not only for the people who have it, but also for their caregivers and families. There is a lack of awareness and understanding of dementia in most countries, resulting in stigmatization, barriers to diagnosis and care, and impacting caregivers, families and societies physically, psychologically and economically.

These statistics, difficulties and eventualities on all of society is often summarized as "gloom and doom". I'm not here to tell you that living or caring for dementia is always "rainbows and roses" cause it's not. There are tough days. There are overwhelming burdens. There are trials. There are demands that seem to fall in your lap. Your unprepared.

Does becoming a dementia caregiver ever NOT just fall into your lap?!

However there are blessings (if you allow for them)!

You may be scared, angry, unprepared (or all the above), but you are not alone.

Did you hear me?! YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!

A first, that's what your mind  wants you to think. Why? Because you are scared, unsure, stressed out (or all the above again).

I've been there. I've been an unprepared dementia caregiver (3 times actually). Honestly, I did not want this for my life. It wasn't where I saw myself. I didn't see myself cleaning incontinent accidents, repeating conversations for the thousandths time, or sleeping very little to name a few of the difficulties that became my new normal. 

The hardships are definitely there. You see them get most of the attention. They are definitely in the media and grab the headlines often (wanderings, behaviors, fatigue). Being a dementia caregiver has even been coined as a "LIFE SENTENCE" (*source Newsweek 3/28/14) 

WOW! That's harsh!!

Sure it's difficult, but the most prevalent gift of being an unprepared dementia caregiver is...BLESSINGS! Tons of them!! I'm not lying!

It's impossible to fit all of the blessings (but feel free to share your blessings), so I'll share one of the best, unexpected blessings...COMMUNITY!

The same group that you didn't realize you were going to be initiated into happens to be the best group to belong to. You will never find a group of individuals who love give and sacrifice so selflessly. Not only do these wonderful people do this every day for their loved one(s) they care for, but they are willing to do it for the rest of the group...the unprepared caregivers!

Why? Because they've been there. They have walked a mile in your shoes, and then some. They have made mistakes, determined to learn from them, and, better yet, share them, so that your journey may not be as difficult. 

People want to help. You need to be strong enough to ask for it. 

For instance, take a look at what myself (Barbara Worthington), and 3 other current and past dementia caregivers are doing right now. We've created an online, interactive Dementia Care Power Training event. Imagine gaining valuable tools and advice that will help you maintain your health, sanity and strength while improving the quality of your yourself and the individual(s) you care for. These dementia experts, Susan Macaulay (My Alzheimer's Story), Maryann Makekau (Hope Matters), Rachael Wonderlin (Dementia By Day), and Barbara Worthington (Caregiver Cards), in addition to our host Mike Good (Together In This), are dedicated to help you improve your observation and communication to find joy and healing. 

We're bringing the "community" to you in the comfort of your home, break room, or office space. 

The Dementia Care Power Training is perfect for anyone really. At least 1/2 of us knows somebody affected or touched by Alzheimer's disease and related dementia (*source Alzheimer's Association 2007).

Take a look, click here, and see if the Dementia Care Power Training event is right for you.

Whether you sign up or not, just know this,that the sum of all the once annoying things does not compare to the blessings in being an unexpected dementia caregiver.

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

 

Last modified on Friday, 23 October 2015 16:39

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