Tips For Caregiver's

People with Alzheimer's disease frequently become more disoriented after dark or when waking. Leaving a night-light on in the bedroom may be helpful.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving

Dementing illnesses strip this safety away. Little by little and sometimes in large chunks the familiar becomes unfamiliar. The little things a person unconsciously counts on to clue them in to where they are, who they are, how they should act and what they should expect disappears. The family starts to hear "I want to go home" over and over. What this really means is "I don't feel safe anymore."

Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving, by Sheryl Karas, 2008

Often, my family and I struggle with how to handle Muddear's frequent confusion. There are many days and subsequent nights when Muddear will repeatedly ask to be taken home or to be taken to a place in her memory. We try many approaches to ease the confusion. Sometimes we attempt to explain to Muddear, patiently and logically, that she is at home. If this fails, we talk about her inability to care for herself, outlining all of the things that Muddear is dependent upon us to do for her thus enabling nursing home free living. When all else fails, we simply state "I know you don't believe me, but you are at home. Let's talk about something else."

The thing that I never understand is why we continue to have this same conversation over and over again. I understand that Muddear has Dementia, the source of her confusion, yet at times I find my level of frustration rising. The questions, never end. The requests to go home never cease. If only, I could better understand "why?"

When I read the chapter excerpt from Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving by Sheryl Karas contained on her blog, I experienced an "aha" moment. You know, the feeling that someone actually understood the challenges my family and I face as caregivers of a loved one with Dementia. Click here to read the chapter excerpt in its entirety or visit Lulu to purchase Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving. This non-fiction book chronicles the five years ending in 2005, when Sheryl Karas worked as a Family Caregiving Consultant at the Alzheimer's Association and Del Mar Caregiver Resource Center helping families taking care of loved ones with incurable progressive memory loss and dementia, contains many more anecdotes like the one listed above.

If you purchase Spiritual Journey of Family Caregiving, stop back and comment. I am interested in hearing about your "aha" moments.


Glorious Hats said...

Hi Nikki and Muddear. So glad the article was helpful. It is a distressing time of life. Think of you often. Hugs, Jane

njm said...

Thanks Jane. We have had a lot going on recently so it's always nice to read enlightening material. Hope all is well with you.

Carol D. O'Dell said...

I too, found Sheryl's book
poignant and insightful. I wish I had it to read when I cared for my mom who had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Each person's story adds to the collective wisdom we so need on our journey.
I also speak in the field of elder-care/dementia--and I recommend this book time and time again.

~Carol D. O'Dell
Author of Motheirng Mother: A Daughter's Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir
available on Amazon

njm said...

Thanks Carol for visiting and commenting. I look forward to checking out the write-up on Amazon about your book.

Jam said...

Always pray and have time to reflect. The only defense you have against stress moments and painful journey is to have time to ask yourself what exactly do you really need.

njm said...


So true,prayer definitely helps to alleviate the stress. Often, I also find the need to spend some quiet time away from everyone so that I can be refreshed. Those times are far and few in between. Which then, of course, leads me back to prayer.