This is part of an ongoing series of guest blogs written by Jo Huey, the Alzheimer’s Advocate®, founder of the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Institute.
In our last post, we talked about the 5th Absolute of communicating with someone who has Alzheimer’s: Never say, “Remember,” instead reminisce.
Today, we’ll explore the Sixth Absolute:
#6: Never say, “I told you,” instead repeat/regroup.
In today’s fast-paced society, it’s easy to get so caught up in “keeping up” that we lose sight of when we’ve lost control – the moment when we are no longer dealing with a situation to the best of our ability.
These “breakdowns” are our mind’s way of telling us that we need to take a break, a vacation or, at the very least, ask for help with our workload.
As a family caregiver, this “breakdown” is the moment when you find yourself losing patience with your loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia. Instead of reacting with compassion, you say things like, “I told you. I just told you! How many times do I have to tell you?”
This reaction is a serious “wake-up call” that you, as the caregiver, need to regroup. If you allow yourself to continue down this stressful path, you are more likely to say or do things that will further aggravate the situation. Additionally, loved ones will pick up on this stress, resulting in a difficult time for you both.
The easiest way to regroup is to take at least three deep breaths and try to refocus. Something this simple can help you decompress and start the conversation fresh.
Often, because of the situation, you can’t just take some time off without some preparation, but you may also consider enlisting the services of family, friends, or a professional caregiver to allow you some time to relax and rejuvenate your spirits.
Remember, as the caregiver, your first priority must be your own health and wellbeing! Without it, you won’t be able to care for your loved one to the best of your ability.
In our next post, we’ll explore the Seventh Absolute: Never say, “You can’t,” instead, do what they can.
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The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of H.H. Franchising Systems, Inc.