Published on: August 21, 2016
by The Advocate:
It is difficult to rely on another person for basic needs. Your mom is most likely very resistant to the care you give her because she suffers from anxiety and is so fearful of losing control of the world around her. Look to providing care for her that is a “care partnership,” with her being involved as much as possible in the decisions for her daily needs.
If your mom seems to have stubborn tendencies, because she does not want to lose her independence, try being very specific about the purpose for which you are directing that particular care. For instance, if your mom has always been competent in the kitchen and continually insists on cooking meals, you could tell her in a very compassionate way, “Mom, I am cooking breakfast for you today because it’s my turn, or, I don’t want you to get burned cooking it yourself.”
You probably get very exasperated when your mother continually denies something she previously said, when she denies losing something, or generally, when she argues with you about just about any and everything. She is trying to overcompensate for her impairment and does not want to acknowledge the situation or have you to “find out,” so she resists all that you are trying to do for her. Try not to fight all the battles. Consider walking in her shoes, and ask yourself, “If the tables were turned, how would I react or accept help?” Step into her world and validate what she is saying to you. It is very real in her world of Alzheimer’s. You don’t have to force conversations or continue to challenge. Let her feel like she is the one in control.
It is difficult for your mother to express her feelings now. Try expressing yours. It might empower her and she could show real empathy for you, in addition to showing you signs of gratitude for her care. Plus, it cements a more reciprocal relationship in which you are both taking care of each other.
Caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s is laborious and overwhelming. Throughout the disease journey, your mom can show a range of emotions, including anger, reluctance, unhappiness, anxiety and fear, all of which you as well, may experience. It is important that you yourself have a support system, talking to others about your challenges and frustrations. Plus, do things you enjoy, taking needed breaks from care. And remember that you cannot effectively take care of your mom unless you take care of yourself.
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